03/10/2011 8:26AM

Turf Paradise matches Table Mesa, Holding Her Ground in Mesa


PHOENIX – There isn’t much that bothers Table Mesa. She’s won on turf, on dirt, routing, sprinting, and on wet ground. She is a stakes winner routing and sprinting on dirt, and is stakes placed routing on turf. So when the 6-year-old mare gets in the gate for Saturday’s $25,000 Mesa Handicap at Turf Paradise, she’ll surely be comfortable in the 6 1/2-furlong main track event.

But one thing that could get in her way is the competition. Holding Her Ground comes in from California and is the 123-pound highweight in a field of eight fillies and mares.

Holding Her Ground, a 5-year-old mare owned and trained by Bobby Wayne Grayson, had a superb 2010. She won 4 of her last 6 starts including a stakes win at Fresno Oct.10. Her two losses in that stretch came when second in a stakes at Del Mar Sept. 8 and when fifth in the Playa del Rey at Hollywood Park Nov. 14, which was her last start. She is no stranger to this track, having run third in an allowance dirt sprint here in April 2009. Akifumi Kato rides.

Table Mesa’s versatility and consistency are her strengths. Owned by Dennis Weir and trained by Sandi Gann, she continues her superb form with 12 straight top-three finishes. She ran second in the Glendale Handicap on grass here Jan. 29 and then loved the sloppy going here Feb. 19 when she romped by 10 lengths in the Sun City Handicap. Regular rider Scott Stevens keeps the call at 121 pounds.

An interesting new face is Frisco Fox. A 6-year-old mare, she comes here with surging form having won 4 of her last 5, the lone loss coming on turf behind Saturday foe Markmelauras. She romped by 5 1/2 lengths over optional claimers here Jan. 26 and was claimed for $20,000. That win makes her perfect in three starts on this main track. She faces tougher for new owners Tim Rollingson and Linda Kropius. Kropius is also her trainer.