12/21/2014 10:32AM

Storm Power takes Hank Mills Sr. for third straight win

Coady Photography
Storm Power (inside) wins the Hank Mills Sr. Handicap by a head Saturday over Az Ridge at Turf Paradise.

PHOENIX – Storm Power ($3.20) confirmed his status as the top older male at Turf Paradise regardless of surface in winning the $35,000 Hank Mills Sr. Handicap – but it wasn’t easy.

Owned by Mercedes Stables LLC and trained by Robertino Diodoro, Storm Power, a 4-year-old gelded son of Tiz Wonderful, was coming off wins in the Bienvenidos (a dirt sprint) and Walter R. Cluer (a turf route) in his first two starts here this meet.

Under Geovanni Franco he stalked in third in the one-mile Hank Mills Sr., moved up to take command turning for home, but had to battle gamely to beat back a resurgent Az Ridge by a head. Az Ridge stalked the pace and doggedly kept after the winner to finish a game second, 5 1/4 lengths clear of third-place finisher Red Zeus in the field of six.

Storm Power, the 3-5 favorite, ran the distance in 1:35.22. The winner’s share of $21,483 gives him earnings of $128,971 from four wins in 10 starts.

** Maker Or Breaker ($6) appreciated a return to dirt as the 5-year-old mare rebounded from a dull turf try last month to gamely capture the $35,000 Kachina Handicap.

Owned by Patti and Hal Earnhardt III and trained by Dan McFarlane, the daughter of Empire Maker won two dirt sprint stakes here in the fall before fading to seventh in a turf route stakes here last month. She moved back to dirt here and, under Israel Hernandez, sat third as Rock and Glory opened up a big early lead, reeled in that foe in the lane, and was starting to edge clear at the wire, winning by a half-length.

Rock and Glory stayed on gamely, finishing another 4 1/2 lengths ahead of the 6-5 favorite Lady Rosberg in the field of five. The race complexion may have changed some with the scratch of one of the favorites, Ricspretentiousgal.

Maker Or Breaker ran the mile on the main track in 1:35.94. The winner’s share of $21,700 gives her earnings of $265,674 from seven wins in 16 starts.