02/13/2016 7:11PM

Jamaican Memories scores upset in Phoenix Gold Cup

Coady Photography
Jamaican Memories (left), under Andrew Ramgeet, gets up by a nose over Storm Power in the Phoenix Gold Cup.

PHOENIX – Jamaican Memories has had a terrific career. After all, the 8-year-old gelding is a multiple stakes winner. For the most part, however, he has played supporting roles, the main spotlight shining on another.

That changed Saturday at Turf Paradise, where Jamaican Memories ran the best race of his career to win the biggest race of his life, the $75,000 Phoenix Gold Cup, the track’s marquee event. But it wasn’t easy.

Owned by Carol and James Bolin and trained by David Van Winkle, Jamaican Memories ($23.80), a son of Slew City Slew, bided his time early in the six-furlong event under Andrew Ramgeet as Masterful Stride set a blistering pace. Masterful Stride opened up a big lead into the lane with 8-5 favorite Absolutely Cool and 7-2 second choice Storm Power gamely chasing while Jamaican Memories was still in behind horses.

However, Masterful Stride hit the proverbial wall and Absolutely Cool oddly enough didn’t sustain his usual big finish, leaving Storm Power on the lead inside the final half-furlong before Jamaican Memories surged late to get up and win by a nose. Storm Power was another 2 1/4 lengths ahead of defending champ Absolutely Cool, who was favored off three straight stakes wins. Masterful Stride tired to fourth in the field of 10.

Jamaican Memories ran the distance in 1:07.73 and the winner’s share of $44,175 gives him a bankroll of $290,237 from nine wins in 63 starts.

Rocked Twice takes Turf Paradise Handicap

Rocked Twice had finished off the board in his only three grass starts, but all that came in Southern California. However, he came into the $35,000 Turf Paradise Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on grass in peak form and showed the footing was no problem..

Owned by Rick Reynolds and trained by Dru Hall, Rocked Twice ($12.80), a 5-year-old son of Rocky Bar, went right to the lead under Jorge Bourdieu, set solid splits, opened up into the lane, and gamely held as Ride Hard Kowboy closed in on him, winning by a half-length. Ride Hard Kowboy stalked the pace and finished well for second, while Empire Knight closed from midpack to be third in the field of nine. Az Ridge, the 3-5 favorite and defending champ, seemed in a good spot stalking the pace and loomed a threat into the lane but couldn’t muster the necessary rally, finishing fourth.

Rocked Twice ran the distance in 1:42.13. The winner’s share of $20,832 gives him earnings of $168,056 from seven wins in 20 starts.

Peppy Miller gets first turf win in Sun City

Coming into Saturday’s $35,000 Sun City Handicap at a mile on grass Peppy Miller was 0 for 12 on turf. In fact, she had just one second-place finish.

In her last start, she finished well behind Sun City favorite My Blue Sky, the runner-up in the Glendale Handicap. None of that mattered Saturday, when Peppy Miller, a 6-year-old daughter of Kentucky Derby hero Fusaichi Pegasus, rallied to post an upset in the Sun City.

Owned by Ray McElhaney and trained by Kevin Eikleberry, Peppy Miller ($19.80) bided her time early under David Lopez as Justcallheraggie set a modest pace, moved closer on the far turn, shifted out for the stretch run, and finished doggedly to win by a half-length over even-money favorite My Blue Sky. My Blue Sky, who pressed the pace from the start and took the lead in midstretch, was another length ahead of Hip Ninety Three in the field of 10.

Peppy Miller ran the distance in 1:37.37. The winner’s share of $20,615 gives her earnings of $98,427 from five wins in 24 starts.