05/04/2013 4:17PM

Turf Paradise: Porfido heads Hasta La Vista on closing day


PHOENIX - The $35,000 Hasta La Vista Handicap, the traditional closing-day event, brings down the curtain on the Turf Paradise meet Tuesday, and the 1 7/8-mile turf marathon drew a field of 12, headed by Southern California raider Porfido.

Also on the Tuesday card is the $35,000 ATBA Spring Sales Stakes, a five-furlong main-track event for 2-year-olds who were consigned to the fall sale. The race drew a field of 12.

Porfido has been a warrior for a long time. The 11-year-old has made 62 starts, winning 14 of them. He won four times in 2012 but has just one third-place finish from three starts this year. He rallied to be fourth in a $25,000 turf route at Santa Anita April 4 and was claimed that day by owner James Taplin and trainer Dan McFarlane. The veteran is a proven commodity at marathon distances and is assigned high weight of 122 pounds with Kelly Bridges named to ride.

His main opposition may come from top local hope Flexiplus. Owned by Martin Yeroshack and trained by Rob Atras, the 5-year-old won two straight mile turf races here Feb. 22 and March 17 and was then a strong second when he rallied to be beaten just a neck in the Wildcat Handicap here April 6. The Wildcat, at 1 3/8 miles on this course, is the traditional prep for this race. He carries 120 pounds with Adolfo Morales named to ride.

** Whiz Hit and Winning Vision loom the ones to beat in the ATBA Sales Stakes. Whiz Hit, a gelded son of Top Hit owned by C J Racing LLC and trained by Molly Pearson, easily won his debut here April 19 by 3 1/2 lengths, earning a 57 Beyer Speed Figure. Winning Vision, a filly by Pollard’s Vision, is also owned by C J Racing LLC. She’s trained by Molly Pearson and like Top Hit easily won her debut here April 19, cruising home 5 1/2 lengths the best while earning a 55 Beyer.

Racing returns to the Phoenix track in the fall.