01/26/2012 12:37PM

Turf Paradise: Saratoga Boot tests his versatility in Swift


PHOENIX – In the last month and a half, Saratoga Boot has won at a mile on the Turf Paradise main track and posted a 14-1 upset in the Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile on the turf here on Jan. 14. He looks to expand his résumé with a sprint victory in Saturday’s $35,000 Swift. The 5 1/2-furlong main-track event drew a field of eight, and is a key prep for the meet’s marquee event, the $75,000 Phoenix Gold Cup on Feb. 18.

Saturday’s card also includes the $35,000 Glendale Handicap. That 1 1/16-mile grass race for fillies and mares pits the streaking Rare Sunset against Snuggs and Kisses. A field of eight is entered, including defending champion Cell Line Forever.

Saratoga Boot, owned by Gary Hughes and trained by the white-hot Mike Chambers, was stakes placed at Emerald Downs last spring and even got a crack at the Grade 3 Longacres Mile, running 11th. After that, the 5-year-old Saratoga Boot went to Golden Gate Fields, where he was no factor in four grass starts.

But Saratoga Boot appears to have a new lease on life. He won a mile main-track allowance race by a neck in his first local start Dec. 10. That earned him a shot at the Fitzsimmons, and under Anne Von Rosen he bided his time and came with a resolute run to win by a nose over Southern California raider Leroys Dynameaux. Saratoga Boot won the only time he raced at 5 1/2 furlongs.

Chambers has won with 39 of his first 82 starts at the meet (48 percent). Von Rosen has the mount again.

There are some legitimate sprinters lined up against Saratoga Boot. Absolutely Cool ran second in the Coyote Handicap here last March, and after more than four months off came back to finish second in the Caballos del Sol at this distance here Dec. 3. Glenn Corbett rides Absolutely Cool for trainer Valorie Lund.

Derive is also a danger, having won three straight, all over this track. He won here Oct. 15, beat $10,000 claimers Jan. 2, and beat $12,500 claimers Jan. 14. He steps up with Jorge Carreno aboard for trainer Robertino Diodoro.

Glendale: Sharp pair clash

Rare Sunset and Snuggs and Kisses lead the field of females in the Glendale on the turf. Rare Sunset, trained by Miguel Silva, has won 3 of her last 4, including the Queen of the Green here Oct. 29. She comes off a wire-to-wire win on this turf course Dec. 3.

Snuggs and Kisses, trained by Dennis Sowers, comes off a 5 1/2-length win in the Kachina on the Turf Paradise main track Jan. 7. She is 3 for 9 on grass, including a win on this course last March 27.

Cell Line Forever won this race last year, but hasn’t won in six starts since. She was third behind Rare Sunset in an allowance race on this turf course Dec. 23.