04/04/2010 12:00AM

Rate of Change answers distance question in Wildcat


PHOENIX - Turf and speed have never been problems for Rate of Change. The question in Saturday's $27,265 Wildcat Handicap at Turf Paradise was whether 1 3/8 miles was in his reach. His answer was a resounding "yes."

Owned by Three Sisters Thoroughbreds and trained by Mike Chambers, Rate of Change stalked the pace in the long turf event and wore down stubborn favorite Highland Games to win by a half-length. Highland Games dueled early with Olympian Odyssey, put that rival away but couldn't quite fend off the winner. Troubletimesthree rallied from last to finish third in the field of 10.

A 5-year-old gelded son of Forest Camp, Rate of Change covered the 1 3/8 miles on the turf in 2:15.20 under Jake Barton. He paid $20.80 and the winner's purse of $16,575 pushes his career bankroll to $67,895 from 3 wins in 15 starts.

Princess of Palms: New claim pays off

Salsa Express paid immediate dividends for new owner Susan B. Morgan and trainer Dan Morgan, prevailing in the $27,125 Princess of Palms Handicap. The 5-year-old Salsa Express was claimed for $20,000 here in March.

Under Scott Stevens, she stalked the pace and wore down Thelifeoftheparty, winning by a length in the six-furlong main track event for fillies and mares. Thelifeoftheparty ran second, just ahead of favored Shakenwithanolive, who finished third in the field of seven.

Salsa Express ran the distance in 1:10.41. She paid $6.80, and the winner's share of $16,275 gives her earnings of $101,807 from 7 wins in 18 starts.

Arizona Stallion: Filly beats boys

Got an Itch, a 3-year-old daughter of Rocky Bar, upended the boys in the $31,221 Arizona Stallion Stakes. Owned by Just for Fun Farms LLC and trained by Molly Pearson, Got an Itch stalked the pace in the 7 1/2-furlong turf race and doggedly kept to her task to run down favored Pinal in the final strides under Ry Eikleberry.

Pinal, the 4-5 favorite, opened up into the lane but couldn't fend off the winner. He still finished 5 3/4 lengths clear of Very Sharp, who was third in the field of 10.

Got an Itch ran the distance in 1:29.88 and paid $7.80 as the second choice. The winner's share of $17,345 gives her career earnings of $97,410 from 3 wins in 11 starts.