Ten Things You Should Know: A Gleam Handicap
By Kevin Martin, Hello Race Fans Contributing Editor
1) The A Gleam Handicap is a race for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up, run at the sprint distance of seven furlongs. The 2013 running will be the last at Hollywood Park. The track is scheduled to close at the end of the year.
2) In 2007, Maryfield, the eventual winner of the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, finished second in the A Gleam. This year’s edition is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series, the winner will qualify for the BC Filly and Mare Sprint in November.
3) Run for the first time at Hollywood Park in 1941, the race was originally named the Sequoia and renamed for the filly A Gleam in 1979. A Gleam, the daughter of Twilight Tear, won five stakes races at Hollywood Park in 1952, including the Hollywood Oaks against 3-year-old fillies, the Milady Handicap against older fillies and mares, and the Westerner Stakes (now the Hollywood Derby), where she beat colts. The 2013 running will be the last at Hollywood Park. The track is scheduled to close at the end of the year.
4) The A Gleam has been a graded stakes since 1973 and was upgraded from Grade 3 to its current Grade 2 in 1990. From 1959 to 1982 and in 1944, it was run at a distance of six furlongs but has been at seven furlongs for every other running in its history. It has been open to older fillies and mares with one exception, in 1944, when it was restricted to 2-year-olds.
5) In 1946, a 3-year-old filly named Honeymoon, owned by movie mogul Louis B. Mayer, won the fourth running of the race (it was not run in 1942 and 1943 because of the Second World War). Evita Argentina is the only other 3-year-old to win the race in its history.
6) The 1958 Kentucky Oaks winner Bug Brush won the 1959 edition of the A Gleam (then the Sequoia Handicap). She also won the San Antonio and Santa Monica Handicaps in 1959.
7) In the 1960 A Gleam, the daughter of Citation and future Hall of Famer Silver Spoon finished second to a filly named Liberal Lady.
8) Outstandingly, the winner (by disqualification) of the inaugural running of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in 1984, won the 1986 edition of the A Gleam Handicap.
9) The 1988 Kentucky Derby winner, Winning Colors, finished fourth in her first start as a 4-year-old in the 1989 A Gleam Handicap.
10) Jockey Gary Stevens won a record seven editions of the A Gleam. His first came in 1986 and his last in 2005.