04/28/2012 7:56PM

Turf Paradise: Ten Ninety Seven wins after A Political Time misses the break

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Shawn Coady/Coady Photography
Ten Ninety Seven wins the Gene Fleming Breeders' Derby under David Lopez.

Ten Ninety Seven ($9.60) couldn’t handle A Political Time when they met on the Turf Paradise grass in the Arizona Stallion Stakes April 7. However, the son of Sideburn turned the tables Saturday as he captured the $50,000 Gene Fleming Breeders’ Derby, the marquee event of Arizona-bred day that featured five stakes for statebred horses.

Owned by Vaughn Calvert Racing LLC and trained by Jimmie Pickard, Ten Ninety Seven got some help when A Political Time, the 3-5 favorite, threw his head at the start and broke well behind the field to basically be eliminated. Ten Ninety Seven went right up to duel with Desert Lightning from the start of the 1 1/16-mile event for 3-year-olds, had the lead going to the backstretch, and steadily increased his advantage from there. He won by 4 3/4 lengths under David Lopez. Wildcat Energy stalked and ran on well for second while All Mighty Buck sat back and made a threatening move into the lane before flattening out and finishing third in the field of eight. A Political Time was never a factor after missing the break, finishing seventh. There was an inquiry into the incident, but he was ruled a starter.

Ten Ninety Seven, notching his second win from 12 starts, ran the distance in 1:45.87.

In the other stakes action:

Top Debutante ($2.80), a stakes winner in her only prior start here, made it 2-for-2 as the daughter of Top Hit had no trouble capturing the $35,000 Ann Owens Distaff Handicap for one of the state’s premier operations, owner and breeder Triple AAA Ranch. The 4-year-old daughter of Top Hit, trained by Kory Owens and ridden by Vicky Baze, was well back early in the six-furlong event for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up. But she made a strong, wide sweeping run to roll past her foes, winning by 2 3/4 lengths as the 2-5 favorite. Stormy Crystal was second and Gotta Skedaddle third in the field of eight. Top Debutante ran the distance in 1:09.49.

Salado Tribe ($4) continued his love affair with the Turf Paradise grass course as the 4-year-old gelded son of Tribal Rule captured the $35,000 Dwight D. Patterson Handicap. Owned by Barbara Nielson Swenson and trained by David Van Winkle, he pressed pacesetter Seattle Memo from the start of the 1 1/16-mile grass test for 3-year-olds and upward, doggedly kept after that foe, and got the better of him in the final half-furlong. He edged away to win by three-quarters of a length under Lopez (giving him a second stakes win on the day). Seattle Memo stayed on gamely for second, two lengths ahead of the mare Sweetsomerwine in the field of 5. Salado Tribe’s four victories have all come on this course. He ran the distance in 1:44.84.

Maggieredvanentune ($44), who had been no threat in a number of prior outings against winners, picked the right day to turn things around as the 3-year-old filly posted a big upset by toppling heavy favorite Page Springs in the $35,000 Joanne Dye. Owned by Marva Pennington and trained by Ron Pharis, the daughter of Red Sky’s bided her time as 3-10 favorite Page Springs opened up a long lead, commenced a run into the lane, and kept on resolutely to wear down Page Springs and win by three-quarters of a length under Lori Keith. Page Springs tired after setting the hot pace, finishing second four lengths ahead of Hindu Kush in the field of six 3-year-old fillies. Maggieredvanentune ran the six and a half furlongs in 1:15.98.

Espresso Springs ($6.20) continued his ascent as the 5-year-old gelded son of Rocky Bar, who was coming off a string of good claiming efforts, turned into a stakes winner for owners Rick Wise and Richard Antle by capturing the $35,000 Sandra Hall Grand Canyon Handicap. Trained by Wise and ridden by Keith (who notched a second stakes win on the day), Espresso Springs used his speed in the six-furlong event for 3-year-olds and upward to duel early with Outa Crown, got the better of that rival in midstretch, and then kept hard-charging F D Icy at bay to win by three-quarters of a length. It was another 3 1/2 lengths back to 2-1 favorite Outa Crown in the field of 9. Espresso Springs ran the distance in 1:09.37.