Turf Paradise 12/16: Sun Devil Stakes Highlights Thursday Card

Turf Paradis will run the Sun Devil Stakes on Thursday

Turf Paradise is a small track in Phoenix. The track features dirt, turf and quarter horse races. Many of the horses on the grounds have shipped from small Midwest tracks for the winter.

Playing the Track

One of the challenges that frequently plagues players at small tracks like Turf Paradise is that it often a one-off play. Players will be drawn to the action when there is a stakes race or significant carryover, but won’t play it consistently over the course of the meet. This leaves players scratching their heads by the sometimes seemingly chaotic results.

Every track in America is different and evaluation of the horses and the races must be treated that way. The handicapping angles a player relies on at Aqueduct, Gulfstream, or Oaklawn can be vastly different than what is needed to find success at Turf Paradise.


One of the single most important aspects of small tracks like this is form. Look through the horses full series of past performances and look for a pattern in how they run. Many of the horses will be older and will have 3 or more years worth of running lines to look at. Here are some things to look for:

  1. Is the horse coming off a layoff, 2nd off a layoff, or 3rd off a layoff ? If so, how has that speed figure number compared to the previous one in earlier form cycles? If the horse seems to always improve a few points in the 2nd start off a layoff and is running 2nd off a layoff today, it might suggest they are rounding into form.
  2. Does the horse have an annual pattern? Some horses will run well at the same time every year. These can be great opportunities because they may look to be a mess, but past performances will show that they run well when December rolls around or inversely that quality form is about ready to go into hibernation.
  3. Does the horse run better or worse at this track? These horses are frequently shipped around the country. Due to climate the Turf Paradise course has a different composition than Fonner Park or Canterbury. Look at the horse’s record specifically at Turf Paradise and see if it might suggest that they take better to this track than the ones they were previously running at.

Trainer Angles

While jockeys can often be important, small tracks are for the trainers. Twinspires offers Brisnet Past Performances free of charge when you bet the cost of the product on the track purchased. Within these past performances players can see angles that the trainer may go to to get the best out of their horse.

This can often be a tell that an otherwise difficult horse to find is ready to outrun expectation.

Jockey and trainer stats are included in several past performances including Brisnet.

In the above image you can see that Kevin Eikleberry is winning at 11% early in the meet, but he is 19% when running horses 2nd off a layoff. The inclusion of this stat means that the horse fits that criteria. Couple that with the fact that he is 2 for 5 with a +$1.32 ROI when he uses Valenzuela as the jockey and the 4-1 price you get, may be a gift.

Sun Devil Stakes Full Card Analysis

Turf Paradise Race 1- Quarter Horses

Post: 12:40 PM MT; Purse: $17,500 Allowance, 350 Yards on Dirt; Entries: 12

#10 TORETTO (5-1) merits consideration in this spot given edges in speed & form. #2 TOO SASS FOR YOU (3-1) looks to have to have kept the best company in the previous starts. #5 THATS WHATS UP (7-2) should be competitive here. #9 HIGH RATE GINGER (12-1) is proven as a good bet to at least hit the board under today’s distance and surface conditions.

Selections: 10-2-5-9

Turf Paradise Race 2- Quarter Horses

Post: 1:12 PM MT; Purse: $18,500 Optional Claiming, 400 Yards on Dirt; Entries: 9

#2 LIDDLE DOC (5-2) has to be respected based on the connections. #7 L BAR D CLASSIC TRIP (6-1) has the top speed index in the group and is in good form. #5 HIGH FLYN EAGLE (9-2) has broken well from the gate which is imperative in these races. #1 WRECKIN BALL (7-2) looks to have to have kept the best company in the previous starts.

Selections: 2-7-5-1

Turf Paradise Race 3

Post: 1:45 PM MT; Purse: $13,130 Starter Allowance, 1 Mile on Turf; Entries: 8

#2 HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY (2-1) is a major player in today’s race edging the field in several key handicapping factors including speed & power rating. #6 IF YOU WANT IT (3-1) looks good here as well with edges in stamina & pace numbers. #3 OUT OF THE SKY (10-1) is a major player based on speed figures and the price is right. #1 DANCE FIGHTER (5-1) could get a perfect pace scenario today.

Selections: 2-6-3-1 (Best Bet #2)

Turf Paradise Race 4

Post: 2:16 PM MT; Purse: $14,300 Claiming, 1 Mile on Dirt; Entries: 6

#3 GAGE HAS A GRAY (7-2) looks like a great play in this spot given the barn that sends this one out. #5 WESTERN SMOKE (5-1) should be competitive today based on the horse’s recent speed figures. #2 AUTISM SIBLINGS (2-1) makes sense on paper, but the price may not reflect the horse’s chance of winning. #1 JU JU GUY (6-1) is worth a look here given edges in race flow & power rating.

Selections: 3-5-2-1

Turf Paradise Race 5

Post: 2:48 PM MT; Purse: $24,700 Allowance Optional Claiming, 7 1/2 Furlongs on Turf; Entries: 8

#4 VINTAGE KITTEN (3-1) just looks better than this group in terms of speed & form. #6 MEET JOE (6-1) has to be respected based on the connections. #5 WARRIORS HERO (8-1) should be competitive today based on the horse’s speed figures and pace numbers. #1 COMPLICATE (4-1) should be in the right spot early to give this horse a chance to get the job done.

Selections: 4-6-5-1

Turf Paradise Race 6

Post: 3:20 PM MT; Purse: $14,300 Claiming, 1 Mile on Dirt; Entries: 7

#2 AVISSE (9-2) could pull a minor upset here with an advantage in stamina & pace numbers. #3 MONGOLIAN EMPIRE (8-1) is in solid form and has kept good company. #7 CHEWY CHEWY GOOD (3-1) has the top power rating in the group. #1 HEART RIVER (7-2) is another who should have the stamina to get the mile distance.

Selections: 2-3-7-1

Turf Paradise Race 7

Post: 3:52 PM MT; Purse: $10,660 Claiming, 6 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 10

#2 A NEW TREND (5-1) is a nice price given the barn. This one could be an upsetter. #9 FREIBURG (7-2) is competitive across a number of handicapping factors. #1 DAVID NOSE BEST (5-1) has been successful under today’s conditions and should be in the right spot early. #4 SUCCESS RATE (3-1) makes sense, but value will be a question mark.

Selections: 2-9-1-4

Turf Paradise Race 8

Post: 4:22 PM MT; Purse: $60,000 Sun Devil Sprint S., 5 Furlongs on Turf; Entries: 10

#2 FIVE PICS PLEASE (5-1) has edges in both speed an class and could spring the upset here. #8 ARIZONA SUN (3-1) should be competitive based on the overall power rating which has it tops in the group. #7 MISS CAROUSEL (4-1) should be a factor at the end of the race. #5 FLYING TO THE LINE (9-2) may be the most likely to sustain speed to the wire.

Selections: 2-8-7-5

More From Turf Paradise

Betting News has you covered with tons of additional handicapping information to make your plays at Turf Paradise profitable ones. Check out our free handicapping tools and selections for all the cards from Turf Paradise and around the country.

By Chris Adams

Chris first got introduced to horse racing in 2009 at Canterbury Park (Shakopee, MN). Along with handicapping and betting, Chris has worked as a teller at his local track and participated in ownership partnerships. He now enjoys sharing his passion with his wife and two young daughters who love going out to the track each and every summer.