02/20/2016 7:51PM

Nightly News steps up from maiden ranks to take Turf Paradise Derby

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Nightly News, ridden by David Lopez, scores as the 4-5 favorite in the Turf Paradise Derby.

PHOENIX  – Nightly News, coming off a romping 10 1/2-length maiden win with a pedigree to envy, had no trouble facing winners for the first time as the son of Grade 1 winner Misremembered easily captured Saturday’s $53,800 Turf Paradise Derby.

Owned and bred by Hal Earnhardt III and trained by Dan McFarlane, Nightly News ($3.60) stalked early under David Lopez as Bushrod set the pace in the 1 1/16-mile event for 3-year-olds, took command turning for home, rebuffed a challenge from Gunfire ,and drew away to win by 2 1/4 lengths as the 4-5 favorite. Gunfire lagged back, came with a threatening run into the lane but couldn’t stay with the winner late, ending up second well ahead of Arizona Moon, third in the field of seven.

Nightly News is also kin to Indian Blessing, a champion 2-year-old filly. He ran the distance in 1:44.86 and the winner’s share of 32,689 gives him earnings of $63,644 from two wins in five starts.

Protective Shield takes Arizona Oaks

Protective Shield ($2.80) remained unbeaten in three starts and confirmed her status as the top 3-year-filly on the grounds as she captured the $27,575 Arizona Oaks– but it wasn’t easy.

Owned by Tom Grether Farms and trained by Robert Lawrence, Protective Shield lagged well back early in the mile Oaks under Jorge Bourdieu, commenced a run on the turn, was part of a three-way battle in midstretch, and gamely went on to win by a half-length as the 2-5 favorite. Joan of Arch stalked, was part of the three-way battle in the lane, and stayed on well to be second, well clear of Malibu Kush, who set the pace, was still on the lead in midstretch but weakened in the final furlong to end up third in the field of 10.

Protective Shield, a daughter of Lookin at Lucky, ran the distance in 1:38.51. The winner’s share of $16,242 gives her a bankroll of $44,933 from three wins in as many starts.