03/20/2011 10:44AM

Turf Paradise: First-time turf runners sweep co-featured stakes for 3-year-olds


Forest Mouse and Irenes Jackpot, two horses with no prior grass experience, nonetheless relished the turf Saturday, winning Turf Paradise’s Tempe and Scottsdale handicaps.

Forest Mouse, owned and trained by Mark Jensen, was coming off a sharp allowance dirt sprint win here March 6. A son of Teton Forest, Forest Mouse was not only trying grass for the first time but routing for the first time as well. He sat midpack in the $25,000 Tempe Handicap at a mile on the turf for 3-year-olds, began to advance into the lane and finished well under Perry Whetstone to get up by a half-length.
The Great Caper chased the pace and ran second, just ahead of Arcadian, the favorite who set the pace before tiring a bit to finish third in the field of eight.

Forest Mouse ran the distance in 1:36.87 and paid $23.80. The winner’s share of $15,000 gives him career earnings of $40,640 from 3 wins in 9 starts.

Irenes Jackpot, an invader from Santa Anita whose only previous efforts had been dirt sprints and was coming off a dull seventh against starter allowance foes there Feb. 21, chased the pace in the $25,000 Scottsdale Handicap at a mile on grass for 3-year-old fillies, moved up to challenge for the lead under Lori Keith and edged away late to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Like Forest Mouse this was her first grass test and first route.

Ghost N Your Heart rallied for second ahead of Miss Buxley, the7-5 favorite who sat midpack, loomed a threat turning for home but finished evenly for third in the field of seven.

Irenes Jackpot, owned by Bill Dory and trained by Robertino Diodoro, ran the mile in 1:38.03 and paid $18.60. The winner’s share of $15,000 gives her a career bankroll of $29,740 from 2 wins in 4 starts.