04/23/2003 11:00PM

Ariz-bred day looks pretty Grimm


PHOENIX - It's a day to celebrate the Arizona-bred, and Turf Paradise goes full tilt Saturday, carding seven stakes for statebreds on an 11-race card. Highlighting the program are the $35,000 Grand Canyon Handicap and $25,000 Arizona Breeders' Derby, which go as races six and 10.

The Grand Canyon, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds and upward, attracted a field of seven, including 125-pound highweight Grimm, one of the top sprinters in the region. Trained by Eric Kruljac, Grimm rattled off four straight wins this winter, including victories in the Cactus Wren (for Arizona-breds) and the open Coyote, which sent him into the $100,000 Phoenix Gold Cup March 8 as one of the favorites.

In the Gold Cup, Grimm pressed the extremely fast pace (21.20, 43.60) set by eventual winner Giovannetti and tired from those efforts, fading to fifth.

Grimm has not raced since. If he is able to regain his previous form Saturday, he will be tough to handle. Regular rider Dave Patton will be aboard.

The most interesting entrant in the Grand Canyon is the 5-year-old mare Knoll Lake. Trained by Kevin Lewis, Knoll Lake has been the top female sprinter on the circuit the past couple of seasons. She comes off a six-length win in the Brumbeau just eight days ago.

The Grand Canyon is her first shot at males. She's won 10 of 16 here and has scary speed. She carries 121 pounds and regular rider Kelly Bridges.

Deputy Doc is a 3-year-old facing elders, but he has been competitive with the best of his class here sprinting and routing. Scott Stevens rides Deputy Doc, who is owned and trained by Paul Treasure.

The Arizona Breeders Derby, at 1 1/16 miles, brings out 10, including a three-horse Dennis Weir-owned entry. One of the Weir horses, Rockford, figures to draw money to the entry.

A son of Benton Creek, Rockford comes off a smart win in an open one-other-than allowance at a mile. He was unable to handle Saturday foes Ryan's Buddy and Newark in a March 20 Arizona-bred optional claimer, but may be better than he was then. Regular rider Kelly Bridges has the call again.

Newark, another part of the Weir entry, is a contender, as are Ryan's Buddy, who packs a late punch when he gets the right trip and pace, and Moody Slew, last year's Arizona Breeders' Futurity winner.

Other stakes on the card include the $35,000 Maxine Piggot for 3-year-old fillies going 6 1/2 furlongs, led by First Snowbound and Tulsa; $30,000 Ann Owens Distaff Handicap for older fillies and mares at six furlongs, topped by the powerful entry of Hawley Lake and Reatta Pass; $35,000 Dwight D. Patterson Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on the turf for 3-year-olds and upward, headed by All American Chris, Mistakenly Special, and Ryan's Partner.