10/27/2012 8:17PM

Turf Paradise: Gleam of Hope, Rare Sunset score as favorites in turf co-features


PHOENIX – Gleam of Hope, who may have had the best proven turf form in the field, validated that as he proved a prompt favorite in the $35,000 Walter R. Cluer at Turf Paradise on Saturday.

Owned by Terry Hamilton and Robert Morgan and trained by Mike Chambers, the 5-year-old Gleam of Hope was Grade 3-placed on turf at Churchill Downs last fall. In this race named for the track’s founder, he dogged pacesetter Quiet Again from the start in the mile grass race, looked poised to take over at will but had to work hard to finally collar and edge past that stubborn rival for the three-quarter length win under Lori Keith. S

even Turf rallied very wide from well back to get second while Saratoga Boot rallied from midpack for third in the field of nine. Quiet Again set the pace, still had a clear to inside the eighth pole but then weakened badly. As it turned out he was pulled up at the line and had to be vanned off.

Gleam of Hope paid $5.40 as the 8-5 favorite and ran the distance in 1:35.77. The winner’s share of $20,832 gives him earnings of $456,226 from 8 wins in 27 starts.

*Rare Sunset, romping winner of the $35,000 Queen of the Green Stakes here in 2011, successfully defended her title Saturday in the mile grass event for fillies and mares, but this year things weren’t so easy.

Owned by the Canadian Sunshine Stable and trained by Miguel Silva, the 7-year-old Rare Sunset  set the pace under Geovanni Franco while under heavy pressure from E Z Kitty. She dispatched with that rival turning for home but was immediately tackled by Sarah Got Even. The two battled to the line with Rare Sunset prevailing by a half-length. Sarah Got Even was another two lengths ahead of Mundy, who ran third in the field of seven.

Rare Sunset, the even-money favorite, paid $4.20 and ran the distance in 1:36.90. The winner’s share of $21,266 gives her a bankroll of $212,183 from 13 wins in 42 starts. She’s now 6 for 10 on this course and nine of her 10 turf wins have come at the mile distance.