03/22/2007 12:00AM

Why not Mr Charlypotatoes right back?


Tie Rod is the top 3-year-old on the dirt on the Arizona circuit without a doubt. But there is no similar consensus when it comes to the 3-year-olds on the turf at Turf Paradise. And Saturday's $45,000 Tempe Handicap, at about a mile on the grass, might go a long way toward clearing the picture in that division.

The first five finishers of a turf race at about a mile here on March 10 renew acquaintances in the Tempe, and the favorite might be Mr Charlypotatoes, who came out on top that day.

Mr Charlypotatoes, trained by Tony Klenakis, prompted the pace under Scott Stevens in that race, his first turf try. He took over going into the lane, opened up, and held on to beat Organ Pipe by three-quarters of a length. Mr Charlypotatoes had the rail that day, but on Saturday he is stuck with the outside post 10.

Mr Charlypotatoes is razor sharp, having run second behind Tie Rod in the Rattlesnake and then winning a maiden race here Feb. 12 by 12o3/4 lengths before the race on March 10.

Organ Pipe gave Mr Charlypotatoes a scare in the March 10 race and ended up four lengths clear of third. Trained by Michael Stewart, Organ Pipe was making his second turf start. He finished third in his other grass attempt, in his career debut here last October. Jocelyne Kenny will ride Organ Pipe.

Kasyno, the even-money favorite March 10, finished third. Party With Todd and Dos Robertos were fourth and fifth in that race.

The X-factor in Saturday's race is Capt. Joe Blow, a sharp sprinter who has yet to try turf or two turns. Capt. Joe Blow has won 4 of his last 5 starts, including the Sail on By, Fool the Experts, Three Phase, and Palo Verde. Capt. Joe Blow, trained by Lanny Sharp, is by Lake Austin, who is by Storm Cat, and he might well take to the turf. Leading rider Glenn Corbett has the call.