03/14/2015 7:41PM

Ride Hard Kowboy hard-pressed to prevail in Tempe Handicap

Coady Photography
Star's Woman, shipping in from California, scores under Juan Gutierrez in the Scottsdale Handicap.

PHOENIX – Ride Hard Kowboy’s sharp recent form and 2-for-2 grass record going into Turf Paradise’s $35,000 Tempe Handicap at a mile on grass for 3-year-olds earned him heavy 4-5 favoritism Saturday. In the end he made his backers happy – but it wasn’t easy.

Owned by Turner Shiew and Robert Morgan and trained by Molly Pearson, Ride Hard Kowboy ($3.80) bided his time early under Scotts Stevens, steadily advanced to the top of the lane, and then needed all of the stretch to get up and beat a stubborn Jungle Java by a neck. Jungle Javal, coming off a big maiden win on turf last month, stalked and stayed on gamely for second, just a head in front of Shrewd Move, who was making his first start on turf, finishing third in the field of 10.

Ride Hard Kowboy ran the distance in 1:36.18 and the winner’s share of $20,615 gives him earnings of $60,005 from 3 wins in 6 starts. His three wins came in his only three grass outings.

Star’s Woman takes Scottsdale Handicap

Star’s Woman ($5.20) invaded from California and enjoyed the new surroundings as the daughter of Elusive Quality captured the $35,000 Scottsdale Handicap. Owned by Mark Breen and trained by Dan McFarlane, she stalked pacesetter Colinda Dawn in the mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies, moved up to challenge that foe in the lane, and gamely wore her down under Juan Gutierrez to win by a half-length as the 8-5 favorite.

 Colinda Dawn, an 18-1 outsider, set the pace and battled on gamely to be a good second, a half-length ahead of Macho N Awesome, who finished strongly from well back to get third. S U M Racer, maybe the circuit’s top 3-year-old dirt filly, didn’t have the same success here on turf, finishing sixth in the field of nine. She did have the excuse of stumbling badly at the start.

Star’s Woman ran the distance in 1:37.75 and the winner’s share of $20,832 gives her earnings of $55,932 from 3 wins in 6 starts.