Defending champion Absolutely Cool heads a field of nine sprinters in the $30,000 Bienvenidos Stakes as Turf Paradise opens its 130-day meet Saturday.
The meet will run from October 15 thru May 7 with racing being conducted primarily on a five-day a week basis, Saturday thru Wednesday with first post at 12:55 pm.
However, the track will run an abbreviated three-day a week schedule – Saturday thru Monday the first two weekends of the meet. The five day a week schedule starts Saturday, October 29.
Also there are three Fridays when live racing will be conducted: November 4 (first day of Breeders’ Cup); November 25 (Thanksgiving weekend) and May 5 (Kentucky Oaks Day).
Among last meet’s Top 10 leading conditioners returning are: three-time leading trainer Robertino Diodoro, Dan McFarlane, Valorie Lund, Molly Pearson and Kevin Eikleberry.
Scott Stevens, who will be seeking his third consecutive leading jockey’s title and ninth overall, will be joined by Top 10 riders Jorge Martin Bourdieu, Andrew Ramgeet and Jake Barton.
Absolutely Cool, former Horse of the Meet and two-time Bienvenidos winner (2015 and 2013) comes off a month and half freshener to tackle a field of nine at 6 ½ furlongs. A winner of ten races locally, the 9-year-old continues to be the stalwart of the Lund barn.
Storm Power, who won this race in 2014 for Diodoro, looks to continue his summer sharpness that resulted in two stakes wins in Prairie Meadows’ Skinner Memorial and Canterbury’s HBPA Sprint championship.
The Jeff Metz-trained Kaabraaj, who failed to menace in three stakes efforts at Del Mar and Santa Anita, finds softer competition in the Bienvenidos.
Others scheduled to run in the Bienvenidos: Mike Man’s Gold, Don’t Hold Back, Back Alley Rally, Midnight Officer, Oh Newman and Fire the Trainer.
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