03/23/2013 8:32PM

Turf Paradise: L.A. Weekend solidifies status as meet's top sprinter in Coyote

Coady Photography
L.A. Weekend, under Geovanni Franco, dominates the Coyote Handicap.

PHOENIX  – L.A. Weekend left no doubt he’s the best sprinter at Turf Paradise, and also that he may also be horse of the meet as the 5-year-old gelding dominated Saturday’s $35,000 Coyote Handicap.

Coming off a romping win in the meet’s marquee event, the Phoenix Gold Cup on Feb. 16 and winning for the third time in as many starts this meet, L.A. Weekend, owned by Rick Wiest and trained by Robertino Diodoro, dueled from the start of the 6 1/2-furlong event with Streakin’ Mohican. Under Geovanni Franco he went  the first quarter-mile in 21.33 seconds, took command after a half-mile in 43.20 as Streakin’ Mohican faltered, opened up a big lead through six furlongs in 1:07.17, and cruised home an easy winner by 6 1/4 lengths. Absolutely Cool, as he did in the Phoenix Gold Cup, ran on for second. He finished a head in front of First Strike in the field of seven.

L.A. Weekend, who paid $3.20 as the heavy favorite, ran the 6 1/2 furlongs in a smashing 1:13.61. His time was narrowly off the track record of 1:13.55 set by top sprinter Lost in the Fog in 2004.

The winner’s share of $21,266 gives L. A. Weekend earnings of $249,215 from 7 wins in 15 starts.