Undefeated Chief Cicatriz, now a perfect five-for-five, won the $75,000 Phoenix Gold Cup Saturday at Turf Paradise.
Longshots won the two co-featured stakes: Kera Kera ($29.20) took the $30,000 Sun City Handicap and Aventador ($36.20) won the $30,000 Turf Paradise Handicap.
Slow out of the gate and favored at 9-5, Chief Cicatriz ($5.60) then quickly seized the lead with Daniel Vergara up and was immediately challenged by Ankeny Hill, who tired at the eighth pole to finish third. Chief Cicatriz drew clear to a 1 ½ length victory over a fast-closing Saturdaynitelites in the field of 11 older horses.
Owned by Roy Gene Evans, Chief Cicatriz, named after a fictional Native American chief from John Wayne’s movie The Searchers, raced the 6-furlongs in 1:09.47.
Trained by Shawn Davis, Chief Cicatriz’s earnings stand at $126,810.
“He’s perfect so far,” said Davis. “We want to see how good he is, so his next race we’ll be at Oaklawn Park for a stakes in March.”
The Sun City
Dangerous to let jockey Jake Barton loose on the lead without being challenged.
Barton and 13-1 outsider Kera Kera waltzed through soft early fractions uncontested and went on to post a 3 ¼ length victory over favorite Ronda Rocks with Detail third in the field of 11 fillies and mares.
Owned and trained by Satchell Stevens, Kera Kera covered the one mile over firm turf in 1:36.44 for her tenth lifetime win and earnings of $169,348.
Turf Paradise Handicap
With a surging move along the rail at the head of the lane, matched by a swift turn of foo, 17-1 outsider Aventador with Martin Bourdieu aboard, scored a 2 ¼ length win over Ten Carat Rock with Arizona Moon third in the field of 12 older horses.
Owned by Mark Staudacher and trained by Kathy Schenk, the French bred Aventador covered the 1 1/16 miles over the turf in 1:41.94. The 6-year-old was registering his eighth career win for earnings of $232,918.
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