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Absolutely Cool heads opening day Bienvenidos Stakes as Turf Paradise opens 61st season

October 14, 2016     E-mail this page to a friend!

Defending champion Absolutely Cool heads a field of nine sprinters in the $30,000 Bienvenidos Stakes as Turf Paradise opens its 130-day meet on Saturday, October 15.

There will be a full card of live horse racing and free t-shirts for the first 5,000 paid admissions. There will also be live music, a kids’ fun park, and a barbecue tent. Fans can watch and wager on races locally as well as on simulcasts from major racetracks from around the country.

Gates open at 11:00 a.m. with the first post scheduled for 12:55. As always, grandstand admission is $2 and general parking is free.

“Turf Paradise is the place where the horses go fast and the dollar goes far,” said Turf Paradise General Manager Vincent Francia. “We are also proud to be carrying on the tradition of Arizona horse racing for a seventh decade. We look forward to welcoming a new generation of horse racing enthusiasts and welcoming back our loyal fans.”

The meet runs from October 15 thru May 7 with racing being conducted primarily on a five-days-a-week basis—Saturday through Wednesday—with first post at 12:55 p.m. The track will run an abbreviated three-days-a-week schedule—Saturday through Monday—for the first two weekends of the meet. The five-days-a-week schedule begins on Saturday, October 29.

There are also three Fridays when live racing will be conducted: November 4 (first day of Breeders’ Cup); November 25 (the day after Thanksgiving) 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.

The Bienvenidos

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 6½ 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— the May 28 Ed Skinner Memorial at Prairie Meadows and the September 17 Tom Metzen HBPA Sprint at Canterbury Park.

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.

Mike Man’s Gold, Don’t Hold Back, Back Alley Rally, Midnight Officer, Oh Newman, and Fire The Trainer round out the Bienvenidos field.