Edward Evans' homebred Summer Colony earned her fifth consecutive win Saturday, leading all the way en route to a neck-length win over Stop for Schnapps in the $111,100 Ladies Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct.
Three-year-old Summer Colony earned her maiden win at Saratoga in August in her seventh career attempt and has been unbeatable since that 32 3/4-length victory in a 1 1/8-mile race. She won three allowance races in succession, including an 8 1/4-length triumph in a 1 3/8-mile race before earning her first stakes win Saturday.
"She's just a late-maturing horse," said winning trainer Mark Hennig. "She probably didn't have any business running at two. She's still learning and I think she will be even better in the future."
Summer Colony led through easy fractions (:51.37, 1:15.82) early on while under slight pressure from Strolling Belle. Summer Colony then drew clear of Strolling Belle before Stop for Schnapps began to rally after fanning wide into the stretch. Stop for Schnapps closed in on the leader in deep stretch before jockey John Velazquez rallied Summer Colony to ensure the win, completing the 1 1/4 miles in 2:05.80 on a fast track.
"She started looking at the starting gate in the stretch and started slowing down," said Velazquez. "I got her outside, when that other horse (Stop for Schnapps) came near us and she gave me another spurt. She should be better next year."
Stop for Schnapps finished 4 3/4 lengths clear of Strolling Belle, with Kris Pit another 10 1/4 lengths back in fourth. Rochelle's Terms, Proud Owner, Letter of Intent, Resort, and Irving's Baby completed the order of finish.
Favored Summer Colony returned $4.50, $3.20, and $2.60. Stop for Schnapps paid $6.90 and $4.70 and completed the $20.40 exacta. Strolling Belle was worth $3.50 to show.
Summer Colony (Summer Squall--Probable Colony, by Pleasant Colony) earned $66,660 for the win, her fifth in 11 starts.
"There are no plans for her right now, except getting her down to Florida," said Hennig. "Maybe we'll look at California, Gulfstream or even freshen her up for the (March 29) Next Move (gr. III)." (Chart, Equibase