02/18/2010 12:00AM

Indian Firewater looks to build on his last


PHOENIX - At this time of year, the sexy divisions are for 3-year-olds. Turf Paradise puts that generation in the spotlight Saturday with the $50,000 Turf Paradise Derby and the $25,000 Arizona Oaks.

Nine 3-year-old males entered the 1 1/16-mile derby, led by the Bob Baffert-trained Southern California raider Indian Firewater. The derby goes as race 8. The one-mile Oaks (race 7) lured 10 3-year-old fillies, led by the consistent Tornado Betty and smashing maiden winner Pocketful.

Indian Firewater holds a strong hand. The $400,000 son of Indian Charlie was fifth, beaten just 2 1/2 lengths by American Lion in the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue going seven furlongs Nov. 21. He ran third in an allowance sprint at Santa Anita on Dec. 30, but may have turned the corner when moved to a route in his last start, an allowance race at Santa Anita on Feb. 3. He set the pace and finished second by a nose to stablemate The Program. Matt Garcia comes in for the ride.

While the first three finishers of Lost in the Fog Juvenile - a local prep for the Turf Paradise Derby - are not here, fourth-place finisher Pinal has shown up. A son of Rocky Bar trained by Kevin Lewis, Pinal ran seventh in his debut here Oct. 24. He then won by 12 3/4 lengths Nov. 13 and parlayed that into a 3 1/2-length win in the Arizona Breeders Futurity on Nov. 28. He set the pace in the Dec. 26 Lost in the Fog and yielded grudgingly to be beaten 1 3/4 lengths. Pinal has worked well for his first route. Leading rider Ry Eikleberry has the call.

Pinal will face stablemate Plantsite on Saturday. Plantsite won his first two starts, including a route here Dec. 23. Daniel Vergara rode both Plantsite and Pinal in all their starts and ends up on Plantsite.

Cheatin a Little, who rallied from well back for fifth in the Lost in the Fog, makes his 2010 debut. Tommy and Buster finished first in his first two starts, though he got disqualified from his last win Jan. 18 for bumping a foe in midstretch.

* Tornado Betty may be the ranking 3-year-old filly on the circuit and heads the Arizona Oaks. She romped by six lengths over allowance foes here Dec. 14 and then won the Arizona Juvenile Filly on Dec. 26. She shipped to Sunland Park to try the El Paso Times Handicap, finishing third after setting the pace under pressure. She may enjoy returning to Turf Paradise. Jorge Carreno rides.

Pocketful ran fifth in her debut at Remington Park on Oct. 19. She came here and rallied for third as a maiden in the Arizona Breeders Futurity on Nov. 28. She went back in against maidens here Jan. 17, dueled early for the lead, and drew off to win by eight lengths. Glenn Corbett has the ride again.