04/30/2009 11:00PM

Stakes double caps meeting


PHOENIX - The temperatures start to go up, and that's when the curtain comes down as Turf Paradise brings its meet to a close Sunday with the traditional closing-day feature, the $50,000 Hasta La Vista Handicap. The 1 7/8-mile turf marathon lured a field of eight and is the final race of the long meet. The meet finale also features the $50,000 ATBA Spring Sales Stakes.

The upstart Latino Summer may be the horse to beat in the Hasta La Vista. Mired in low-level claiming races much of his career, the 6-year-old gelding has blossomed in recent months. Owned by Patricia McPeak and trained by Bill Bainum, Latino Summer has rattled off seven straight first- or second-place finishes, including four wins.

He seems to have found his calling on the turf, beating $6,250 claimers on the grass here Feb. 21, then finishing second for $7,500 here March 15. He was claimed that day and has flourished since. He led all the way to win a 1 1/8-mile grass stakes here April 3 and led all the way again to win the Turf Distance Finale at 1 3/8 miles April 24.

A couple new faces and old local class horse pose hurdles. Boule d'Or has knocked heads with some of Southern California's top grass stayers. In fact, the 8-year-old won the Grade 2 San Luis Rey at 1 1/2 miles on the Santa Anita turf over 13 months ago.N

New Fandan was a close fourth in a Brazilian Group 1 going 1 1/2 miles a year ago. The 6-year-old has yet to duplicate that form in four U.S. starts, though he was second in his U.S. debut going 1 1/2 miles at Gulfstream Jan. 10 before shipping west.

Western Act has been a fixture on this circuit. A 7-year-old gelding, he ran third in this race a few years ago and has just one victory, that on dirt, in the past two years.

* Espresso Springs leads the $50,000 ATBA Sales Stakes. A field of 12 2-year-olds goes goes five furlongs.

Espresso Springs, trained by Jacque Guerra, dueled for the lead and drew off to easily win his debut by four lengths April 17.

His main challenge figures to come from Tulelake, The Brickster and Cat Skylar, the one-two-three finishers of another race April 17.

* The Arizona racing scene shifts north to Yavapai Downs in Prescott Valley, which tuns a meet from May 23-Sept. 8. Racing returns to Turf Paradise Oct. 2.