03/16/2013 7:25PM

Turf Paradise: Mark wakes up on return to turf in Tempe Handicap

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Coady Photography
Mark, ridden by David Lopez, relishes the return to turf in the Tempe Handicap for 3-year-olds.

PHOENIX  – Mark moved to grass at Turf Paradise on Saturday and bounced back from a dull run in the Turf Paradise Derby on Feb. 23 to capture the $35,000 Tempe Handicap.

Owned by Linda Sentes and Terry Clyde and trained by Mike Anderson, the 3-year-old Mark had run sixth in his only prior grass start here a couple months ago and fifth in the Turf Paradise Derby. In this mile grass event for 3-year-old males, Mark stalked the pace under David Lopez, moved up smartly between horses on the turn to grab the lead, opened up into the lane, and just held off a hard-charging I Stand Alone by a head. I Stand Alone, an invader from New Mexico trying grass for the first time, was well back early but finished strongly for second, well clear of the others. Dontmesswithkitten, the mild 3-1 favorite on the basis of proven grass form, sat in midpack and made some headway to finish third in the field of nine.

Mark ran the distance in 1:38.37 and paid $21.80. The winner’s share of $20,832 gives him earnings of $41,010 from 3 wins in 10 starts.

Acarpian was only a half-length behind Agent Scully when they ran one-two on grass here Jan. 4. The 3-year-old Acarpian turned the tables in the $35,000 Scottsdale Handicap, nipping Agent Scully by a nose.
Owned by Darryl Paranica and trained by Robertino Diodoro, Acarpian followed up her runner-up effort to Agent Scully with a big maiden win on turf here Jan. 23. She showed again she relishes the grass as under Geovanni Franco she bided her time early in the mile race for 3-year-old fillies, was still well back turning for home but surged into contention and battled gamely to the wire to get the nod. Agent Scully, the favorite after a romping win in the Arizona Oaks here last month, did nothing wrong as she sat in midpack and finished well under Nate Smith but just came up on the wrong end of the photo. Le Facteur Wow sat back before making a strong run into the lane to battle with the top two in midstretch but couldn’t quite keep pace, finishing third in the field of 11.

Acarpian ran the distance in 1:39.47 and paid $7.60 as the second choice. The winner’s share of $20,398 gives her earnings of $29,486 from 2 wins in 6 starts.