The Arizona Breeders’ Festival day card at Turf Paradise on April 23 was a big day for trainer Kevin Eikleberry, who saddled Scrap Iron to win the Gene Fleming Breeders’ Derby and sent out Lieutenant Margie to romp in the Joanne Dye as the shortest-priced favorite in the five stakes events for Arizona-breds.
Scrap Iron, who runs for breeder Roger Downes, had been unplaced in four starts since winning a claiming event in January and used every yard of the stretch to run down pacesetter Heber, getting the best of a close finish in 1:44.98 for a mile and a sixteenth. Race favorite Two the Punch checked in third. Scrap Iron is a gelded son of Informed.
Starting the day’s stakes festivities with a splash was Lieutenant Margie, who took the lead early in the Joanne Dye and roared away from her rivals, winning by 11 and a half lengths in 1:15.64 for six and a half furlongs. After chasing divisional champion Heidi’s in Charge in all three starts at 2, Lieutenant Margie, by Margie’s Wildcat, has come into her own at 3, sandwiching a second in Arizona Stallion Stakes against males with two victories. Bred by Fleming Thoroughbred Farm LLC, she runs for Eikleberry and Kent Kunz.
Veteran Red Zeus returned to win the Dwight D. Patterson Handicap for the second straight year, coming away with a half-length victory in 1:41.33 for about a mile and a sixteenth on the turf. Red Zeus, a 6-year-old gelding by Red Sky’s, runs for breeder Peggy Thompson and is trained by Dan McFarlane.
Also trying for an encore was Jamaican Memories, winner of the 2015 Lyman and Bradley Rollins Handicap and recent winner of the Phoenix Gold Cup. But J P Rocker had the race well in hand, leading throughout and pulling away late to win by six lengths in 1:08.08 for six furlongs. J P Rocker, a half-brother by Rocky Bar to champion Tribal Gal, was bred by John Pendergast and is campaigned by Andy Spitalny. J. Jay Kruljac trains. Jamaican Memories just held second over Midnight Officer.
Wrapping up the stakes card with a double for sire Rocky Bar was Camille, prevailing over Mobiledixie and Dance Affair in a tight finish in the Ann Owens Distaff Handicap. Six-year-old Camille was bred by Triple AAA Ranch and runs for owner/trainer Tomas Hinojosa. The final time for the six-furlong event was 1:09.50.