04/12/2012 10:52AM

Turf Paradise: La Nez back off layoff for Princess of Palms


PHOENIX – Saturday’s $35,000 Princess of Palms Handicap at Turf Paradise presents your classic handicapping quandary: Do you go with back-class or current form?

That’s the primary question posed in the six-furlong event for fillies and mares, which drew a field of six.

The back-class is represented by Southern California raider La Nez, the 124-pound highweight. Teryns Song is among three of her rivals in sharp form.

Owned by the Class Racing Stable and trained by Jay Kruljac, the 5-year-old La Nez is a multiple stakes winner on the West Coast and graded stakes placed. The main issue for her is that she hasn’t raced in just over a year. She won the Irish O’Brien on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita in March of last year and rallied for third in the Grade 3 Las Cienegas a month later. After that she suffered a non-displaced condylar fracture in a hind leg, hence the long layoff.

She has raced just once on dirt, finishing third in a mile stakes race at Santa Anita in February 2011. She’s been working in solid fashion for her return and has Scott Stevens aboard.

Teryns Song, trained by Mike Chambers, comes off a 6 1/4-length win sprinting here March 3. She won geared down and still got a big Beyer (87), and the horse she beat back into second came right back to win. Lori Keith rides at 118 pounds.

Jaws n’ Paws comes here having won three straight and four of her last five. She won at Santa Anita in the fall and then ran fifth at Hollywood Park. She won for $16,000 at Santa Anita Jan. 19 and was claimed away from Robertino Diodoro. Jaws n’ Paws came right back to win for $20,000 there Feb. 19 and was claimed back by Diodoro. He shipped the 5-year-old mare here for the March 10 Mesa Handicap and she romped by 4 1/2 lengths over stakes winner Hard Seven. Jorge Carreno rides at 123 pounds.

The other sharp horse is Given Episode. A 4-year-old filly, Given Episode also comes into this with a three-race winning streak. She is taking a hefty step up in class, however, after winning for $6,250 here Feb. 13, for $10,000 here Feb. 27, and over first-level allowance foes here March 10. David Lopez rides at 117 pounds.