08/27/2008 11:00PM

Gleaves's two best on grass


MIAMI - Saturday figures to be a pivotal afternoon for trainer Phil Gleaves, who sends out his two top 3-year-olds at Calder, including turf specialist Alpha Charmer in the $55,000 Noble Robyn Stakes.

Gleaves will also put his two-time stakes winner Mambo Meister back on the grass in a mid-priced optional claiming race.

The Noble Robyn, one of two overnight stakes for 3-year-olds on Saturday's card, is co-featured with the six-furlong Eillo on the main track. The Noble Robyn is scheduled to be run at 1 1/16 miles on turf.

Alpha Charmer has not been on grass since rallying from last to a convincing 3 3/4-length triumph in the restricted Georgia Oaks on June 15. She has not started at all since finishing a troubled third over the main track in the Strikethedancer Stakes on July 5.

"There have just been no spots to run her on the turf so we've waited and pointed for this one," said Gleaves. "She's training well and hopefully this one stays on the grass and she can repeat her performance in the Georgia Oaks."

Alpha Charmer will face some familiar rivals in the Noble Robyn, including Ashley River and Mysterious Jule, who finished second and third in the Georgia Oaks. The one to beat if the race comes off the grass is Joffe's Run, who exits a pair of convincing overnight stakes wins going a mile on the main track. Joffe's Run did win her maiden on turf in Europe at 2.

Mambo Meister is among the top members of his division on dirt but still winless on grass. A son of King Cugat, Mambo Meister dominated 3-year-olds in the Ride the Rails and American Dreamer stakes over the main track earlier in the meet, but will be taking on older horses for the first time on Saturday.

"This race will solve a dual purpose," said Gleaves. "It gives us a chance to get him back on the turf and enough time to make the Super Derby if we decide to take a shot in that race."

Sparkle City will attempt to prove his nine-length allowance victory last month was not a fluke as the likely favorite in the Eillo. Sparkle City earned a career-best 102 Beyer Speed Figure for his most recent victory and has been given ample time, five weeks, to recuperate from the effort.

Casino Gambler is also in peak form, having won his last two starts, and may prove the beneficiary if Sparkle City cannot duplicate his last performance.