Adirondack Summer, responding impressively to left-handed urging from jockey Alan Garcia, got up at the wire to win the roughly run $100,000 Dania Beach Stakes by a nose over Brilliant Speed on the turf at Gulfstream Park Jan. 16 (VIDEO).
Making his first start in Florida after racing twice in New York on turf as a 2-year-old, Adirondack Summer topped a field of nine sophomores in the one-mile Dania Beach while clocking a time of 1:34.44 over firm going. Adirondack Summer was last at the quarter pole and had seven horses to beat at mid-stretch but got the job done while avoiding a tangle of trouble to his inside.
Christophe Clement trains the winning son of Thunder Gulch --Summer Solstice, by Caerleon, for owner Peter Deutsch.
Adirondack Summer had to overcome the rail post to get to the far outside in the stretch where he edged Brilliant Speed and John Velazquez for the victory. Master Dunker, with Luis Saez aboard, finished third. Lil Bit O'Fun, the 8-5 favorite, was rank early and faded to last after taking the lead briefly between horses in upper stretch.
Stewards conducted an inquiry into the stretch run and disqualified the original fourth-place finisher, Swift Warrior, for interfering with the pacesetter The Best Glacier. Megalith was elevated to fourth while Swift Warrior was dropped to eighth.
The Best Glacier led Lil Bit O'Fun and Twinspired through swift quarter-mile fractions of :23.53, :46.74, and 1:10.31 and took the field into the stretch before Swift Warrior rallied to get the lead a furlong from home with Brilliant Speed closing in on the outside.
Swift Warrior drifted inward under right-handed pressure from Paco Lopez and caused crowding before weakening in deep stretch, allowing Brilliant Speed to get a narrow advantage approaching the wire. However, it was Adirondack Summer, forced to alter course in upper stretch and rallying on the far outside, who got the nod at the end.
"My horse didn’t break that sharp so I was patient and waited for the quarter pole to ask my horse," Garcia said of Adirondack Summer. "He did a very good job.”
Master Dunker, also closing from far back, finished 1 1/4 lengths back in third, followed in the official order by Megalith, Twinspired, Racing Aptitude, The Best Glacier, Swift Warrior and Lil Bit O'Fun.
Adirondack Summer was an impressive debut winner on the Belmont Park turf Oct. 23, rallying from sixth in a seven-furlong maiden heat to win going away by 5 1/4 lengths. Returning a month later in an optional claiming allowance at one mile on the Aqueduct grass, he ran a strong second as the favorite. The Dania Beach victory, worth $60,000, boosted his career earnings to $95,400.
“He was very unlucky not to have won his last start," said Clement. "I was concerned he was as far back as he was early in the race, but with the pace up front, it worked out for the best. I haven’t thought about his next race. We’ll enjoy this one for now.”
Sarah and Robin Leigh bred the winning chestnut colt in New York. Adirondack Summer was a $38,000 yearling buy at Saratoga in August 2009.
Sent off as the third choice, Adirondack Summer carried 116 pounds and paid $11, $6.20, and $4.20. Brilliant Speed, coming off a maiden win in his fifth try for trainer Tom Albertrani at Tampa Bay Downs Dec. 26, returned $10.60 and $6.80 and completed a $106 exacta. Master Dunker, the longest shot in the field at 38-1, paid $18.60 to show.