04/21/2004 11:00PM

Statebreds enjoy day in the sun

Email

PHOENIX - Turf Paradise celebrates the Arizona-bred Saturday with seven stakes for statebreds, headed by the $40,000 Grand Canyon Handicap.

Komax looks tough in a field of nine in the six-furlong Grand Canyon (race 10 on an 11-race card). Owned by Triple AAA Ranch and trained by Kory Owens, Komax returns from Sunland Park, where he finished second in one stakes and then ran out of the money in three subsequent stakes. He's won 4 of 6 at Turf Paradise.

In early 2003, Komax was good enough to be third in a tough optional claimer at Santa Anita, and in August 2002 he ran fourth in the Grade 3 Longacres Mile at Emerald. He carries high weight of 123 pounds Saturday and will be ridden by Scott Stevens.

Komax's main rival figures to be Newark, who is trained by Keith Bennett. Newark comes off a game optional claiming win at six furlongs March 28. Prior to that he fell a nose shy of Jetson in a similar spot. Jetson is in this field as well.

Newark carries 121 pounds and rider Wilson Dieguez.

In other stakes on Saturday:

* The $40,000 Maxine M. Piggott (race 2) at 6 1/2 furlongs brings out some quality 3-year-old fillies. Lil Easy may go favored for owner-trainer Jacque Guerra. A winner of two races over the winter here, she returned after two months off March 12 and was fourth in the Cactus Cup here. Lil Easy shipped to Albuquerque and was second in the April 9 La Fiesta.

Lil Easy returns to her home track and looks to be back on her game.

Miss Noteworthy, coming off a seven-plus-length romp at Sunland, bears watching, too.

* Reatta Pass will be a heavy favorite in the $40,000 Ann Owens Distaff Handicap (race 3) at six furlongs for fillies and mares. A 5-year-old, Reatta Pass carries high weight of 123 pounds and comes off a second in a $32,000 claimer at Santa Anita, her first start in two months. She was claimed out of that race by Summer Mayberry. Reatta Pass is 4 for 8 here.

If there's a spoiler in the Ann Owens it may be 119-pound second highweight Lakesville. Trained by Manuel Ortiz, Lakesville was fourth in the April 10 Cactus Flower against some of the best open distaff sprinters here.

* Seven 3-year-old males do battle in the Arizona Breeders Derby (race 8) at 1 1/16 miles. Among those vying for favoritism will be Samurai Nanao, fourth in the Rattlesnake here Jan. 18. He hasn't run since, but has worked well and as a 2-year-old won two Arizona-bred races and was second in the Nov. 29 Arizona Breeders Futurity.

Overland Route has the best form in the field. He is coming off a fine win over similar in the Arizona Stallion Stakes on the turf here April 9. Both his career wins and his only second came on the turf, and this race is on the dirt.

* The $40,000 Dwight D. Patterson Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on the turf (race 9) for 3-year-olds and upward may be the most competitive race of the day. The 119-pound highweights, Deputy Doc and Ryan's Partner, come off fine efforts. Deputy Doc was second in an optional claiming dirt sprint here April 9. His only turf try came 13 months ago when he was second in the Tempe Handicap. He is owned and trained by Paul Treasure and will be ridden by Stevens.

Ryan's Partner, trained by David Van Winkle, comes off a win going a mile on this course, making for four big races in his last five starts. He will be ridden again by Joel Campbell.

There are also two starter allowance stakes on the program, the C. W. "Doc" Partee (race 1) and the Tom Bane (race 7).