Updated on 09/17/2011 10:01PM

Proud Cardenal by a nose in Phoenix Gold Cup

Shawn Coady/Coady Photography
Proud Cardenal wins the $100,000 Phoenix Gold Cup at Turf Paradise on Saturday.

Proud Cardenal managed to get his nose in front when it counted most - at the wire - as he gamely prevailed Saturday in Turf Paradise's marquee event, the $100,000 , over hard-luck loser Flying Supercon.

"Apenas ganamos! (We just barely won it!)," exclaimed trainer Sal Gonzalez to Tricar Stable owner Daniel Cardenas. "I really didn't know for sure. It was so, so close."

Proud Cardenal, breaking from the rail, bided his time midpack early, steadily advanced into the lane, swung out for the stretch drive and doggedly kept to his task, just getting up in the final stride to eek out the victory.

Proud Cardenal, ridden by Perry Whetstone, covered the 6 furlongs in 1:08.42 and returned $10.20. Flying Supercon, ridden by Adolfo Morales, led throughout before losing the head bob at the wire. He finished a length and three-quarters in front of Southern California shipper Indian Country, ridden by Casey Fusilier. Grand Appointment, favored off a string of strong Southern California races, finished sixth in the eight-horse field.

Roi Charmant, Hear No Evil, American Fury and Palmerton were late scratches.

"My horse ran with all his heart," said Dan Morgan, Flying Supercon's trainer. "He did everything right. No excuses. We just got caught on the wire."

* In the co-featured $40,000 Sun City Handicap, heavily favored Muir Beach ($5.20) ran away to a three and three-quarter-length victory over Pleasant Gulch. Peace Symbol finished a neck back in third in the field of eight fillies and mares.

Ridden by Casey Fusilier, Muir Beach covered the one mile over firm turf in 1:36.51 for her sixth stakes win of the meet.