06/11/2002 12:00AM

The last shall be first: Equality wins Gleaming


After wondering for months how Equality would handle turf, trainer H. Graham Motion got his answer Tuesday.

Equality, coming off a last-place finish in the Preakness Stakes, made the transition to grass by scoring a one-length victory in the $59,300 Gleaming Stakes at Delaware Park.

Jockey Ramon Dominguez, who won three races on the card, kept Equality ($3.60) relaxed in fifth place for the first half-mile of the 1 1/16-mile turf race. When Dominguez asked his mount to make a move on the backstretch, Equality responded by accelerating quickly to become part of a three-way fight for the lead with Coco's Madness and Root With Style. Equality stuck his head in front at the eighth pole and was able to draw clear of Coco's Madness late, covering the distance in 1:41.38 over a firm course.

"He ran a great race," Motion said. "He really relaxed, we took the blinkers off, and Ramon said he could put him anywhere he wanted. We felt in the Preakness that he got rank, which cost him a lot."

Motion was uncertain where Equality will run next. One possibility is the Kent Stakes, a Grade 3, 1 1/8-mile turf race for 3-year-olds at Delaware on July 21.