02/14/2015 7:02PM

Absolutely Cool reverses form in Phoenix Gold Cup

Coady Photography
Absolutely Cool, under Rocco Bowen, snaps a six-race losing streak to win the Phoenix Gold Cup for the second straight year.

PHOENIX – Absolutely Cool can sure pick his moments.

The 8-year-old Absolutely Cool won last year’s Phoenix Gold Cup but was winless in six subsequent starts and really hadn’t been all that effective. Well, come time to defend his title at Turf Paradise on Saturday, the veteran sprinter turned back the clock and came with a strong run to upset the $75,000,  six-furlong event, the top race of the meet.

Owned by Karl Krieg and trained by Valorie Lund, Absolutely Cool ($28.60) lagged well back early under Rocco Bowen as Castletown and Ankeny Hill dueled through hot splits of 21.53 and 43.79 seconds. Absolutely Cool was still last turning for home, swung extremely wide into the lane, and powered home as the speed collapsed to get up in the final strides to win by a half-length.

Valiant Flame sat back with the eventual winner, got first run on that foe and finished well but couldn’t quite outdo Absolutely Cool. Omar ran a huge race as he prompted the fast pace and while the other speedsters fell away he stayed on gamely for third, beaten just a length. Ankeny Hill dueled and faded to fifth. Pimpernel, the talented Southern California raider who was sent off the 6-5 favorite, stalked the pace but came up empty in the lane to finish seventh. Castletown, until this race rated as the top local sprinter, gave way readily after his early duel with Ankeny Hill, finishing last of eight.

Earlier on the card, Krieg and Lund teamed to capture the Sun City Handicap with Lady Rosberg.

Absolutely Cool ran the six furlongs in 1:08.75. The winner’s share of $45,105 gives him earnings of $269,803 from 8 wins in 33 starts.

Lady Rosberg ($6) couldn’t quite catch Rock and Glory when second in the Glendale Handicap here Jan. 17,  but turned the tables in taking the $35,000 Sun City Handicap, kicking off quite a day for owner Krieg and trainer Lund.

Lady Rosberg, a 5-year-old daughter of Rosberg, bided her time early in the mile grass test for fillies and mares. She came with a  strong wide run under Gallyn Mitchell on the far turn and carried it to the line to win by a length. Hollywood Hottie stalked rallied to be a clear second while Ricspretentiousgal had traffic issues in the lane but managed to rally for third. Rock and Glory, the 8-5 favorite, dueled early with Justcallheraggie but gave way badly to finish last in the field of eight.

Sent off the 2-1 second choice, Lady Rosberg ran the distance in 1:36.07. The winner’s share of $21,049 gives her earnings of $85,506 from 5 wins in 12 starts.

Az Ridge ($7), winner of last year’s Turf Paradise Handicap, successfully defended his title in the $35,000 grass event. Owned by the Sawyer Cattle Company and trained by Dan McFarlane, the 6-year-old Az Ridge stalked in third as Southern California raider Snowday set the pace in the 1 1/16-mile race, charged to the lead, and drew off to win easily by 2 1/4 lengths as the 5-2 favorite. He was ridden by Geovanni Franco.

Fast Track was well back early, steadily advanced, moved up to try and challenge the winner into the lane and while no match for him stayed on for second. Red Zeus stumbled badly at the start but got a decent stalking trip and finished third. Storm Power, a winner of three straight stakes earlier this meet and at the time considered the top horse on the grounds, dueled and ran fifth in the Cotton Fitzsimmons on turf here Jan. 17. He added blinkers here but after stalking the early pace gave way badly and was eased in the field of nine. He reportedly bled and was vanned off.

Az Ridge ran the distance in 1:41. The winner’s share of $20,832 gives him earnings of $337,335 from 11 wins in 36 starts.