Waterford Stable's even-money favorite Summer Front brought home a third grade III victory with his win in the 35th edition of the $100,000 Cliff Hanger Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Monmouth Park Aug. 25 (VIDEO).
Joe Bravo had the call on the 4-year-old Christophe Clement trainee in the 1 1/16 mile contest on the grass at the New Jersey racetrack.
The 6-year-old Tune Me In set the pace on the inside, leading the field of six 3-year-olds and up through quarter-mile fractions of :24.27, :48.60, 1:12.05, and 1:35.61 into the stretch. While Summer Front settled off the pace near the inside, Hobo Ridge pressed the pace in second while Howe Great tracked behind in third on a course rated firm.
Summer Front spotted his opportunity turning for home and took the lead. Tune Me In dug in but couldn't hold on, while Howe Great maintained his position to finish third. Hobo Ridge weakened in the stretch and faded.
"That was really eye-opening," Bravo said of the trip on the colt by War Front out of the El Prado mare Rose of Summer. "I saved ground the whole way, and when he saw daylight, that was it. What a quick turn of foot this on this horse. All I can say is 'Wow.' "
Summer Front hit the wire with a 1 1/4 length lead over Tune Me In in a final time of 1:41.49.
Bred in Kentucky by Graceville Breeding, favored Summer Front paid $4, $3.40, and $2.20. Runner-up Tune Me In returned $10.40 and $4.20, while Howe Great paid $2.40. The exacta paid $33.20 and the trifecta $54.50.