Phoenix-based Florida Keys seeks to keep his win streak intact when he heads a field of nine in the $75,000 Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile Handicap on the turf Saturday at Turf Paradise.
The race is named after the late coach of the Phoenix Suns, an avid horse player. The two supporting features on the Turf Paradise card are the $45,000 Swift Stakes, which drew a full field of 12 older horses for the 5 ½-furlong speed contest, and the $50,000 Glendale Handicap, which attracted 11 fillies and mares for the 1 1/16-mile turf test.
Florida Keys has been a perfect two-for-two for leading trainer Troy Bainum since arriving at Turf Paradise in early November. The 6-year-old horse followed his win in the Walter Cluer Memorial on Nov. 11 with a victory in the Black Mountain Handicap Dec. 16.
“His win in the Black Mountain was his first on dirt, which is not his preferred surface,” said Bainum. “He’s back on the turf for the Fitzsimmons. He’s been training extremely well, and I expect a big effort.”
Florida Keys has been assigned high weight of 123 pounds and will be ridden by Jocelyne Kenny.
Bobby Frankel’s well-traveled Night Chapter hasn’t won since July at Belmont Park. However, he has two wins at the Fitzsimmons distance and has finished in the money in 10 of 20 lifetime turf efforts. Brice Blanc has been named to ride.
Another California shipper is True Dancer, a solid grass runner who has won nine of 19 starts and has $233,661 in earnings. Trained by Jeff Mullins, True Dancer will be ridden by local leading apprentice Chris Landeros.
$75,000 Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile Handicap (Race 7, 3:12 p.m.), 4 & Up, 1 Mile (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Marbury (CA), 119, Scott AStevens
2. Sir Wintons Heir (WA), 112, Vicky Baze
3. Skyrider (WA), 115, Hector Ventura, Jr.
4. Wait in Line (FL), 118, Adolfo Morales
5. Jack's Wild (CA), 117, Jose Valdivia, Jr.
6. Night Chapter (GB), 120, Brice Blanc
7. Night Dash (CA), 116, Luis Hernandez
8. Florida Keys (KY), 123, Jocelyne Kenny
9. True Dancer (FL), 122, Chris Landeros