01/14/2017 7:09PM

Ten Carat Rock pays dividends by upsetting Cotton Fitzsimmons Handicap

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Ten Carat Rock, claimed for $5,000 in September, pays $37.60 for his win under David Lopez in the Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile.

PHOENIX – Ten Carat Rock has proved a gem of a claim-back for owner/trainer Troy Smith as the 6-year-old son of Rock Slide can now boast of being a stakes winner as he gamely captured Saturday’s $75,000 Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile Handicap at Turf Paradise.

Ten Carat Rock ($37.60) was claimed away from Smith for $5,000 at Finger Lakes on Aug. 22. Smith snatched him right back for that same price Sept. 23 there and hasn’t looked back as the horse then won a starter allowance route there Oct. 19 before coming to Turf Paradise to easily win a turf route at 20-1 on Dec. 12. That earned him a shot at this, the biggest grass race of the meet.

Ridden again by David Lopez, Ten Carat Rock sat second as Blue Bomber went out to the early lead in the mile race. Ten Carat Rock engaged Blue Bomber turning for home, battled with him and held a narrow edge before Blue Bomber finally succumbed in the final half-furlong. Ten Carat Rock then gamely fended off the charging 3-5 favorite Power Ped to win by a neck. Power Ped, a Southern California invader who had competed with some of the game’s best, sat midpack and finished well for second just in front of 53-1 longshot Red Zeus, who rallied from last to be third in the field of 10.

Ten Carat Rock ran the mile in 1:35.73 on firm turf. The winner’s share of $44,175 pushes his earnings to $117,452. About half of that has been earned since they paid just $5,000 to claim him.

The $30,000 Turf Paradise Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on turf here Feb. 11 could be next.

Peppy Miller upsets Glendale Handicap

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Peppy Miler ($27.40) finished behind a number of Saturday’s rivals in her last two starts, but the 7-year-old daughter of Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus raised her game to turn the tables on those and post the upset in the $30,000 Glendale Handicap.

Owned by Wallstreet Racing Stables LLC and trained by Kevin Eikleberry, Peppy Miller was third in this race last year. After some good form in the spring/summer she ran poorly in a dirt stakes at Emerald Downs on July 17, was gone four months, and unable to threaten with a pair of fifths on turf here this fall.

Saturday, she was away slowly to be well back early under Daniel Vergara in the 1 1/16-mile turf event for fillies and mares, remained well back to the far turn, angled out into the lane, produced a strong kick once straightened away to roll past all her foes and won going away by 1 3/4 lengths. French Alps sat midpack before taking the lead into the lane, hanging on to finish in a dead heat for second with Peach Time, who lagged well back before finishing well in the lane. Ronda Rocks, the 5-2 favorite after finishing first in four straight, stalked the pace of Excessivelyblessed, loomed a big threat into the lane while very wide but then gave way badly to finish 10th in the field of 11.

Peppy Time ran the distance on firm turf in 1:44.47. The winner’s share of $17,484 gives her earnings of $142,541 from 7 wins in 31 starts.