Summer Front Storms Home in Dania Beach
by Jack Shinar
Date Posted: 12/18/2011 6:21:56 PM
Last Updated: 12/20/2011 1:34:27 PM

Summer Front wins the Dania Beach.
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Photo: Coglianese Photos

With a big late burst, undefeated Summer Front concluded his 2-year-old campaign with an impressive 1 1/2-length victory over favored Finale in the $100,000 Dania Stakes on the Gulfstream Park turf Dec. 18 (VIDEO).

In winning the one-mile test on firm going, the quickly improving Summer Front overcame a severe stumble at the start that left him seventh at the race's mid-point. Summer Front, in spite of a wide trip, would recover to defeat three colts that ran in last month's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT) while clocking a winning time of 1:35.57.

Trained by Christophe Clement for Thomas Moore's Waterford Stable, Summer Front extended his winning streak to three races since prevailing in his debut on the Belmont Park inner turf Sept. 28. The son of War Front  , ridden in all of his races by Ramon Dominguez, took the one-mile King Cugat overnight stakes on the Aqueduct lawn in his most recent outing Nov. 6.

“It’s not easy to win a mile race here (on turf) with a wide trip," Christophe noted. "Now he’s three-for-three. We’ve had success for Mr. Moore before with In Summation   and we look forward to next year with this one."

Clement said he would "probably pass" Gulfstream's $100,000 Kitten's Joy Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on grass Jan. 21.

"We didn’t try him on dirt this year, but maybe next year," he said.

Bred in Kentucky by Graceville Breeding, Summer Front was a $475,000 Keeneland 2-year-old purchase in April. Out of the El Prado mare Rose of Summer, the bay colt boosted his career bankroll to $126,000.

Behind Summer Front, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf graduates were tightly grouped, occupying the next three spots in the final order of finish. Finale, the 8-5 favorite despite a troubled seventh as the choice in the Juvenile Turf for trainer Todd Pletcher, finished second by a neck over Excaper, with Coalport a nose back in fourth.

Excaper ran second in the Juvenile Turf and was the second pick in the Dania Beach, while Coalport was 11th last month at Churchill Downs.

Summer Front settled nicely after the bad start to rate three wide in mid-pack as Csaba took the lead over Excaper and Finale. Csaba maintained a half-length advantage while carving soft quarter-mile fractions of :24.27, :48.78, and 1:12.77.

Finale, ridden on the outside of the pacesetters by John Velazquez, took a narrow lead from Excaper and Emma-Jayne Wilson in the final furlong as Csaba gave way. But Summer Front, who had advanced into fourth with a quarter-mile to run, rallied on the outside for Dominguez to take over at the sixteenth pole. He drew away in the final strides.

“He stumbled pretty badly coming out of the gate and from there I just wanted to make sure I got him to settle in behind horses," Dominguez said. "The plan was to follow Finale around there thinking me and him were the two best horses in the race. I was able to get him into the clear around the far turn and from there he kicked it in really well."

Velazquez was not disappointed in the runner-up effort by Finale, who won the Summer Stakes (Can-IIIT) at Woodbine Sept. 17 to earn favoritism in the Breeders' Cup.

“He ran a great race today, he was just beat by a better horse," Velazquez said. "We were three wide today but it was not that bad. It was nothing like in the Breeders’ Cup. That was wide.”

Sent off as the third choice, Summer Front paid $10.20, $4.40, and $2.80 while toting 120 pounds. Finale, who shouldered top weight of 122, returned $3 and $2.20 and completed a $31 exacta. Excaper, who has finished in the money in four of five starts, paid $2.60 to show.

Coalport was followed buy Csaba, Empire Builder, Italo, Burning Time, Brother Pat, Vee One Rotate, and Starforce. Silver Menace was entered for the main track only.



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