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PHOENIX, AZ—DECEMBER 9, 2018—Fastest qualifier Higher Icon got up over Corona Thru Fire to win the $52,535 AQRA-Turf Paradise Open Quarter Horse Derby by a nose Sunday at Turf Paradise Race Course. One Spicy Eagle, who lead early, was only a neck back in the blanket finish but was disqualified and placed 8th for interference.
Ridden by jockey Ernie Aispuro, Texas Icon completed the 400 yards in :19.901 seconds to earn a 93 speed index and pick up the winner's share of the purse worth $26,267.
Trainer Eloy Navarro saddled the son of leading third-crop sire Texas Icon for owner Jesus Avila. The brown gelding, who won for a $16,000 tag last summer at Los Alamitos Race Course shipped to Turf Paradise and won his November 25 derby trial by half-a-length.
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Also shipping from the West Coast where he was second for $25,000 tag in July, Corona Thru Fire earned $10,507 for finishing second. The Walk Thru Fire gelding broke awkwardly under jockey Rodolfo Arvizu, but still managed to finish second for owner Juan Macias and trainer Ubaldo Guerrero.
Pedro Barbizan Santiago Leite bred the multiple stakes-placed gelding in California from the Corona Cartel mare Corona Perfection. He has compiled a (17) 3-3-3 record and earned $33,343.
In tight at the start, second fastest qualifier Unregulated Cash was moved up to the show position following the disqualification of One Spicy Eagle.
Owned-and-trained by Jose Botello, the stakes winning Oklahoma-bred earned $5,254 to bring his bankroll to $47,127. Vince Genco and Paul Jones bred Unregulated Cash from the Check Him Out mare Checkcashingabililty. Martin Osuna was riding.
Completing the official order of finish were Marshall Valentine, Cowgirl N Up, Rose Dynasty Priceless Mr Jess, and One Spicy Eagle. Royal Prize Dash and Valiant Flier were both scratched.