10/02/2009 11:00PM

Rockin Zola opens Turf Paradise with win


When Rockin Zola was passed late in the stretch by Edmond in Friday's $50,000 Luke Kruytbosch, the opening-day feature at Turf Paradise, everyone assumed his day was done and he was now running for second. Everyone, that is, except his rider, Scott Stevens, and perhaps his trainer, Molly Pearson.

"Molly had him as fit as can be," said Stevens. "It wasn't easy, but I never doubted this horse's heart to win it."

Rockin Zola, rerallied to nip Edmond by a nose to capture the Kruytbosch as the Phoenix track kicked off its 155-day meet, its 54th season.

Owned by Curtis Craig Jones, Rockin Zola dueled with Edmond from the start. He paid $8.40 as the second choice in the event for 3-year-olds and covered the six furlongs in 1:10.11. Edmond was a clear second, 2 1/2 lengths in front of Mayapple Court, who rallied from well back in the field of 12 to get third in the event named for Turf Paradise's late track announcer. Sax, the 2.30-1 favorite, finished fifth but was disqualified and placed 10th for interference in the lane.

The winner's share of $30,000 pushes Rockin Zola's earnings to $80,470 from 5 wins in 14 starts, and he's now 4 for 8 on this track.