04/22/2010 12:00AM

Table Mesa sitting on a victory


PHOENIX - For Table Mesa, the past four months have been an exercise in frustration. The 5-year-old mare has run quite well, mind you, in her four races in that time frame, but come up just short on each occasion. She looks to remedy that in the $50,000 Ann Owens Distaff Handicap at Turf Paradise Saturday. The six-furlong event for fillies and mares is part of a four-stakes program for Arizona-breds.

Table Mesa won two straight here in the fall, one on dirt, the other on turf. But her tough run of luck started the day after Christmas. She ran second, beaten a neck, in the Kachina Handicap. She then ran second, beaten a neck, in the Jan. 16 Glendale Handicap and was second again, by a half-length, in the Feb. 13 Sun City Handicap. She had a troubled start from a very wide post and did well to rally for third in the March 13 Desert Sky Handicap here.

Regular rider Scott Stevens has the call again on Table Mesa, who is trained by Sandi Gann and owned by Dennis Weir.

Among her eight rivals are the one-two-three finishers from last year's Ann Owens. Beacon Falls easily won this race last year to start a three-race winning streak. She's been off since finishing fifth in the Mesa here Jan. 30. Like Table Mesa, she is trained by Gann and owned by Weir.

Meet Anzi and M J's Headache, second and third in this race last year, are back for more. The Owens goes as race 7 on a nine-race card.

* Got an Itch looms a heavy favorite in the $50,000 Joanne Dye Stakes (race 6). The 6 1/2-furlong event for 3-year-old fillies drew a field of eight. Got an Itch comes off a win over males in the Arizona Stallion Stakes on turf April 3. She may actually be better on dirt.

* Hidden Character is back to defend his title in the $30,000 Sandra Hall Grand Canyon (race 4). He began his career in the spring of 2009 with three straight wins, topped off by a smart win in this race. He wasn't seen again until March 19 of this year, when he ran fifth against open foes at Sunland Park. He surely needed that race and may relish returning to this track.

Among his five foes in the six-furlong event are White Spar, who ran second to him last year, and multiple stakes winner King Justin.

* Pinal stands as an overwhelming favorite in the $25,000 Arizona Breeders Derby (race 2). He's likely the leader of the Arizona-bred 3-year-old ranks and figures tough in this 1 1/16-mile event for 3-year-olds. He ran third in the Turf Paradise Derby Feb. 20, second in the Tempe Handicap March 13, and second to Got an Itch in the Arizona Stallion Stakes. Those last two outings came on turf and he may be better on this surface.

Among his five rivals is Very Sharp, a winner of two straight this winter and the third-place finisher behind Pinal in the Arizona Stallion Stakes.