Summerly, who disappointed her connections in the Ashland Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland, more than made up for it with a wire-to-wire win in the $554,400 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) at Churchill Downs Friday.
Heavily favored Sis City tried valiantly but never could get by Summerly and finished fourth in the seven-horse field.
Summerly, who went over the $1 million mark in career earnings, won the race before an Oaks record crowd of 111,243 under beautiful skies and pleasant weather.
Jerry Bailey took Summerly to the lead, just as he had done with her in the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II). In the first turn, Bailey went to the rail and forced Edgar Prado aboard Sis City to go to the outside. Prado stalked Summerly down the backside as the two went a quarter in :23.45 and a half in :47.44. Runway Model took up the rail spot in third.
As they moved into the turn for home in the 9-furlong race, Sis City drew alongside the 9-2 second choice Summerly, but she could never get by. Heading down the stretch, the two battled on but Summerly had plenty left. She put Sis City away and stormed toward the wire two lengths clear.
Coming from just off the pace, In the Gold, ridden by Rafael Bejaraono, came on to get second and Gallant Secret, Mike Smith aboard, finished third. In the Gold was 1 ¾ lengths ahead of Gallant Secret. Sis City, who went off 3-5, was another three-quarters of a length back in fourth.
The field was reduced from nine to seven with the scratches of Dance Away Capote and Aspen Tree. Memorette finished fifth and was followed by Runway Model and Rugula.
Summerly finished fourth, beaten 19 ¼ lengths in the Ashland, which Sis City won by 10 ½. Her connections, especially trainer Steve Asmussen, said to throw the race out and point for the Oaks.
"This is the filly we have run all season long," Asmussen said. "She was away from the gate cleanly; at Keeneland, the second jump, I knew we were in trouble because she wasn't handling the track."
"It was unexpected to be on the lead," Jerry Bailey said. "Sis City had a post inside us and more speed. I planned to lay second.
"The way the break was, Summerly broke really well, and I made the determination I was going to go ahead and take the lead and see what Sis City was made of. Edgar eased back and took outside and I tried to slow it down as best I could."
It was the third Oaks win for Bailey.
Summerly was bred by Tom Van Meter and Michael Lowenbaum and is owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds. The horses are owned by the family of the late Verne Winchell, the group headed by his son, Ron.
Summerly, by Summer Squall out of the Mr. Prospector mare Here I Go, has won five of her eight starts while the $343,728 winner's share Friday pushed her career total to $1,026,708.
She paid $11.20, $5, and $4. In the Gold returned $6.20 and $5, and Gallant Secret was worth $9.20.
The time for the 1 1/8-miles was 1:50.23.