11/01/2001 1:00AM

Hangonslewpyhangon can upset


PHOENIX - Hangonslewpyhangon hadn't run since April 7, but with a fast-closing third in a recent comeback sprint issued a warning: He is going to be tough to beat in Saturday's $30,000 Walter Cluer Handicap at Turf Paradise.

Hangonslewpyhangon heads a field of 10 in the 7 1/2-furlong race on turf. He is not the highweight, carrying 120 pounds, while Eagleton gets in at 122. But he looms the horse to beat. Why? Because he has stakes wins on the Turf Paradise turf course at about this distance, including last year's Blaze O'Brien and Kokopelli.

After getting the summer off, he returned in an Oct. 22 optional claimer at six furlongs on the main track. He broke poorly, but closed with a rush to miss by only a neck. That effort figures to have him ready for his best. Owned and trained by Cliff Leavitt, he leaves from post 7 under Glen Corbett.

But the betting favorite figures to go to the formidable entry of Eagleton and Bristolville, owned by Dennis Weir and trained by Kevin Lewis. Eagleton has graded-stakes experience on the California circuit against the likes of Northern Quest, Lazy Lode, Redattore, Hawksley Hill, Irish Prize, and other top-notch competitors. He was second in the Grade 3 Golden Gate Handicap back in May, so there's considerable quality here.

Like Hangonslewpyhangon, Eagleton got the late spring and all the summer off. He returned here in a six-furlong, main-track sprint, which is far too short for him. He rallied to be a non-threatening third, but like Hangonslewpyhangon, figures much the better for getting a race behind him. And the distance and surface switch certainly help his cause. He leaves from the rail under Carl Kutz.

Entrymate Bristolville is also alive. He, too, got the summer off, and he returned in the same race as Hangonslewpyhangon, using a big late rally to win by a head. He moves back to turf here, and he is 2 for 2 on this course. Kelly Bridges rides.

Potential upsetters include Snohomish Loot, a 6-year-old gelding coming off a monster win going a mile on the main track, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 93.

Another possible surprise is Ironman Dehere, a 3-year-old back from Southern California, where he tried some toughies in the Pomona Derby without success.

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