02/14/2009 12:00AM

Peace Chant's back class emerges


PHOENIX - Peace Chant found his old class and got a dream pace setup as he closed furiously to capture Turf Paradise's marquee event, the $100,000 Phoenix Gold Cup on Saturday.

Owned and trained by Doug O'Neill, who claimed the 6-year-old son of War Chant for $62,500 at Santa Anita on Jan. 17, Peace Chant ($30.60) bided his time toward the back of the pack off sharp splits, steadily advanced to the top of the lane, and then blasted past his rivals to win going away by two lengths under Alonso Quinonez.

Ducky Drake was far back early but finished strongly like the winner, ending up second, just in front of Twin Sparks. Twin Sparks was right on the pace the entire way and stayed on gamely for third. Machismo, the 6-5 favorite, finished fourth in the field of 13.

Peace Chant , second in the Grade 3 Los Angeles Handicap in 2007 and fourth in last year's Grade 2 Portrero Grande Handicap, covered the six furlongs in 1:08.20. The winner's share of $60,000 pushes his career bankroll to $244,109 from 4 wins in 14 starts.

Handicap: Bingham gets best of Zappa

Bingham narrowly prevailed in a thrilling duel over classy Southern California shipper Zappa to take the $50,000 Turf Paradise Handicap.

Bingham ($4.40), a 4-year-old gelding owned by Dennis Weir and trained by Kevin Lewis, chased the pacesetting Zappa from the start of the 1 1/16-mile turf event, moved up alongside that rival to challenge on the far turn and the two went nose to nose the rest of the way, with Bingham prevailing by a head under Glenn Corbett. Zappa did everything right under Mike Smith, jumping out to the lead to set the pace. He battled every step of to just miss, finishing about 1 1/2 lengths in front of Canard, who was an unlucky third in the field of eight after traffic troubles in the lane.

Bingham ran the distance in 1:42.59. He has now earned $240,187 from 7 wins in 12 starts.

Sun City: Locals run one-two

Locally-based She's Sensational and Star of Whitney beat back the Southern California challengers to run one-two in the $50,000 Sun City Handicap for fillies and mares.

Owned by La Canada Stables LLC and trained by John Martin, She's Sensational ($12.80), a 5-year-old mare who defeated Star of Whitney in the Glendale Handicap locally on Jan. 17, bided her time midpack, launched a strong run into the lane, blew past pacesetter La Tee, and had more than enough of a lead to keep Star of Whitney at bay, winning by two lengths under Kyle Kaenel. She covered the mile on firm turf in 1:35.83. Star of Whitney put in a strong run to get second, while pacesetter La Tee held third. Storybook, the 4-5 favorite, stalked the pace but could muster the necessary rally and was fourth in the field of six.