Unsuccessful in six previous tries at the grade I level, Summer Front is well-positioned to break through as part of a small field in the $300,000 Eddie Read Stakes, the first top-level race of the Del Mar season July 20.
The 1 1/8-mile turf event came up a little weak this year with Summer Front, coming off a runner-up finish to Obviously in the Shoemaker Mile (gr. IT) June 14, shouldering top weight of 121 pounds. The race also attracted Tom's Tribute , third in the Shoemaker last time.
The only prior grade I winner in the six-horse field is Unbridled Command, upset winner of the 2012 Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) who has had just one start since February 2013.
The Eddie Read will be televised on "The Jockey Club Tour on FOX" program Sunday from 2:30-4:30 p.m. PDT on Fox Sports 1. The tentative post time for the grade I event, race 5 on the program, is 4 p.m. PDT.
Summer Front won the Ft. Lauderdale (gr. IIT) in January over the Gulfstream Park turf for his seventh lifetime stakes victory, but has lost three in a row since. In the Shoemaker June 14 at Santa Anita Park, Summer Front dropped off a a fast pace set by Obviously and came on willingly for Joe Bravo with a rail trip to get second, beaten by 1 1/2 lengths. The New York shipper was a half-length in front of Silentio and Tom's Tribute, who finished in a dead-heat for third.
Trained by Christophe Clement for Waterford Stable, the consistent 5-year-old son of War Front finished third in both the Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) and Jamaica Handicap (gr. IT) in 2012. Among his stakes victories are the Hill Prince (gr. IIIT) in 2012 and the Miami Mile (gr. IIIT) and Cliff Hanger (gr. IIIT) last year. His career mark stands at 8-4-3 in 19 starts with a field-best $814,140 in earnings.
Bravo retains the mount on Summer Front, who breaks from post 2 while spotting the rest of the field two pounds apiece.
Like Summer Front, Tom's Tribute was no match for Obviously in the early part of the Shoemaker last time after steadying early. The 4-year-old Lion Heart colt advanced four wide in the lane to get a share of third money for Braly Family Trust and trainer Jim Cassidy.
Prior to the Shoemaker, Tom's Tribute won the Thunder Road Stakes April 6 while equaling the Santa Anita course record for a mile of 1:31.78 set by Wise Dan in the 2012 Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT). Though Tom's Tribute be trying nine furlongs for the first time, his late-running style suggests he'll be able to handle the added distance. Mike Smith, who was aboard Tom's Tribute in the Thunder Road, has the mount from post 6.
Previously trained by Thomas Bush for Lewis Lakin, Unbridled Command now runs for trainer Peter Miller and owners Kevin and Colleen Bamford and David Bernsen. In his only start for his new connections, the 5-year-old New York-bred son of Master Command was eighth in a one-mile allowance/optional claiming race on the Santa Anita turf June 21.
Unbridled Command had a five-race winning streak ended in a third-place finish behind Point of Entry and Animal Kingdom in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (gr. IT) before going to the sidelines early last year.
The only Eddie Read entrant coming into the race off a win is Spring Up, who took a starter handicap June 21 as the odds-on choice over Santa Anita's hillside turf course at about 6 1/2 furlongs. The 4-year-old Spring At Last colt was fifth for trainer John Sadler in the Last Tycoon (gr. IIIT) at the Eddie Read distance in his graded stakes debut April 25.
Cogito , who has not raced since placing sixth in last year's Eddie Read, and Horizontalyspeakin, who had back-to-back wins in allowance conditions at Santa Anita this spring, complete the field.
Del Mar, Sunday, July 20, 2014, Race 5
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L 1 1Spring Up (FL) Corey S. Nakatani 119 John W. Sadler - 2 2Summer Front (KY) Joe Bravo 121 Christophe Clement - 3 3Cogito (VA) Mario Gutierrez 119 Edward R. Freeman - 4 4Horizontalyspeakin (MD) Joseph Talamo 119 John W. Sadler - 5 5Unbridled Command (NY) Elvis Trujillo 119 Peter Miller - 6 6Tom's Tribute (KY) Mike E. Smith 119 James M. Cassidy -
Del Mar, Sunday, July 20, 2014, Race 5