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Before this Saturday’s 5 p.m. road game in Charlotte, head over to Turf Paradise for the annual running of the Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile – a stakes race named in honor of the late Suns Ring of Honor coaching great who was an avid horse-racing fan and a frequent patron of the racetrack.

Even though the team will be out of town for the feature race, the franchise will be well-represented by friends and family who’ll help pay homage to the 20-year coaching legend who compiled a 341-208 record in the Valley.

“Whenever you think about Cotton, you think about this organization and the impact he had on it,” said Steve Nash, whose parents attended last year’s festivities. “He’s a real important part of our history here. He was a great character of the game and was somebody everyone enjoyed and misses dearly.”

Assistant coach and fellow Ring of Honor great Dan Majerle fondly remembers his former head coach and the man who famously spoke up for him after he was selected by Phoenix in the first round of the 1988 NBA Draft.

“I was very lucky to be drafted by this organization and to play under a guy like Cotton,” explained Thunder Dan earlier this week. “He put a lot of trust in me as a rookie player and threw me on the court. He let me make mistakes, but as long as I played hard, he lived and died by what I did out there. To be successful, a lot has to do with who you play for, and I was lucky enough to fall into a perfect situation to have Cotton coach me.”

The day’s racing card tips off at 12:30 p.m., with the Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile tentatively scheduled for 3:30 p.m.  Turf Paradise is located at 1501 W. Bell Road in Phoenix.

For more info on the race, CLICK HERE

To read more about Cotton’s impact on the Suns and the NBA, CLICK HERE.