03/18/2006 12:00AM

Jungle Prince takes Phoenix Gold Cup


Favored Jungle Prince had an easy time of it Saturday, capturing Turf Paradise's marquee event, the $75,000 Phoenix Gold Cup, in a romp, and leading a Southern California sweep of the first three spots.

Sent off the 3-2 favorite in the field of 12 runners going 6 furlongs Jungle Prince, owned by Bentley, Burk, Sciaara, et al., and trained by Juan Garcia, jumped right out to press the hot early pace set by Flying Supercon, wrested the lead from that rival going to the far turn and then steadily increased his margin to eventually clear off and win easily by over five lengths. Ridden by Agapito Delgadillo Jungle Prince paid $5 for the victory, and the winner's share of $45,000 pushed his career earnings to $324,138 from six wins in 25 starts. He covered the 6 furlongs in 1:08.29.

"In a field this big I had to stay close to the lead," said Delgadillo. "So we went right from the start."

For trainer Garcia it was something of a homecoming as he trained here in the early 1970s.

"I finished fourth in this race in 1981 with Rojo Grande," Garcia said. "I'm really pleased to win it."

Brand Name was last early after a very slow start but saved ground, bided his time and finished strongly to be second three-quarters of a length in front of Court's In Session, who was midpack early, moved into contention on the turn and finished decently. The disappointment was Iron Halo. The winner of this race in 2004 Iron Halo chased the pace early but faltered in the lane, ending up 11th of 12.

*Silly Little Mama used her speed to go right to the lead and open up on her way to a facile upset of Bully Bones in the $40,000 Cactus Cup. She covered the 6 1/2 furlongs for 3-year-old fillies in 1:15.31. Heavily favored Bully Bones chased the winner all the way around to end up second at 3-10, while Spice Thief likewise chased the top two throughout to be third. Silly Little Mama is owned by Stacy Campo, trained by Dan McFarlane and was ridden by Wilson Dieguez.

*Dreams Come True invaded from Southern California for top trainer Bobby Frankel to take the $40,000 Sun City Handicap. Ridden by Omar Berrio and owned by Falourd, Alain, Trussel, et al., Dreams Come True sat back and then powed home to win the about mile turf event by a length in a half, covering the distance in 1:36.62 as the 6-5 favorite. Shadowy Waters made the pace and held on well to be a clear second while well-backed Muir Beach (8-5) loomed a big threat into the lane but couldn't sustain her run, ending up a well-beaten third.