01/28/2010 12:00AM

Familiar foes square off in Mesa Handicap


PHOENIX - The first four finishers of an allowance sprint at Turf Paradise on Jan. 3 were separated by little more than a length. The ante goes up Saturday as those four renew acquaintances in the $25,000 Mesa Handicap.

The six-furlong event for fillies and mares drew a field nine and goes as the eighth race on a nine-race card.

Puff Maddie won the Jan. 3 allowance race, but it's not as if she has much margin for error. Trained by Mike Chambers, she goes for her third straight win and fourth in her last five starts.

Puff Maddie stalked the pace under Glenn Corbett in that six-furlong event and won by a half-length. Beacon Falls was second, a half-length in front of A.P. Flatter, who was a neck in front of Blumin Beauty.

Corbett again has the call on Puff Maddie, who was the 6-5 favorite that day and may go favored again from the rail.

Beacon Falls, trained by Sandi Gann, was the 5-2 second choice in that Jan. 3 race. She dueled on the lead from the start under Adolfo Morales and only grudgingly gave way. Morales is back aboard the 6-year-old mare, who has posted six of her seven wins here.

A.P. Flatter was the surprise of the Jan. 3 race. She had run fifth in the Dec. 5 Phoenix Handicap behind some of these and went into the race at 9-1. She broke awkwardly but finished strongly to get third under Scott Stevens, who rides again.

Blumin Beauty hasn't won since last summer at Canterbury, but the 7-year-old mare continues in good form. She was third in the Dec. 5 Phoenix before the allowance race. Leading rider Ry Eikleberry has the mount again.