02/17/2012 4:46PM

Oaklawn: Gleaming has strong case in Spring Fever

Oaklawn Park/Coady Photography
Gleaming, with Lindey Wade subbing in the saddle for Cliff Berry, wins the American Beauty.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Gleaming is developing into a female sprinter of note. She has won two stakes in her last three starts, and for one of those wins earned a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 92. Sunday, Gleaming will be out to build on the success, when she takes on eight other fillies and mares in the $60,000 Spring Fever.

The race, to be run at 5 1/2 furlongs, drew a regional newcomer in Palooza, a specialist at the distance, and the Grade 3-placed Hearts on Fire, a sharp allowance winner last out in her first start since July. The Spring Fever is the middle leg of Oaklawn’s series for female sprinters that builds to the $75,000 Carousel on April 12.

Gleaming won the first leg when she closed from last to first in the $50,000 American Beauty on Jan. 22. She won by 1 3/4 lengths after coming from much farther off the pace than usual, and earned her best-ever Beyer Figure.

“She’s gotten very good, and she just seems to take it to another level at Oaklawn,” said Bret Calhoun, who trains Gleaming for Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch. “She’s really moved forward in Hot Springs. She’s thriving, and she seems like she’s even better now than when she won [the American Beauty].”

Gleaming has been on a roll since the fall. She won the $113,000 Oklahoma Classics Distaff at six furlongs at Remington Park on Oct 28, then came back and missed by a neck against males in the $50,000 Silver Goblin, a 6 1/2-furlong race for Oklahoma-breds Nov. 25.

Cliff Berry was aboard for both of those wins, but missed the American Beauty because of travel issues. He was flying back to Arkansas for the race after riding in stakes at Sam Houston the night before, but his flight was rerouted to Louisiana because of fog in Little Rock. Lindey Wade filled in, but Berry will be back aboard Sunday.

“Cliff knows her very well, and she knows Cliff very well,” Calhoun said. “It’s hard to take Lindey off after he rode such a good race, [but] she can be a little finicky and Cliff has ridden her most of her career.”

Palooza last raced at Aqueduct, finishing fourth in a $62,500 optional claiming allowance at six furlongs Jan. 2. She will be shortening up to a distance over which she has finished first in three starts, although she was disqualified from one of those wins for impeding a rival. Terry Thompson has the mount for trainer D. Wayne Lukas.