Waterford Stable’s Summer Front will run in the $100,000 Duluth Stakes at Saratoga Race Course July 22 rather than travel to Colonial Downs for the Virginia Derby (gr. IIT) a day earlier, according to trainer Christophe Clement.
Clement, speaking July 20, cited the expected thunderstorms in New Kent, Va., as the primary reason for keeping Summer Front in New York.
Summer Front was a half-length winner of the June 16 Hill Prince Stakes (gr. IIIT) over one mile on the Widener turf course at Belmont Park last time out.
The Duluth, at one mile on Saratoga's inner turf course, drew a field of nine with Summer Front the 8-5 morning line choice. The $600,000 Virginia Derby, while carrying a much more lucrative purse, is contested at 1 1/4 miles.
“The combination of stretching him and the weather was slightly overwhelming,” said Clement. “The owner wanted to make a decision yesterday about what place to go. We decided to send the horse to Saratoga (from Belmont) in order to run him here Sunday.”
Ramon Dominguez was named to ride Summer Front, who is unbeaten in four starts on grass, in both the Virginia Derby and the one-mile Duluth.
“If he runs well, we’ll have some other races where he could run this summer,” said Clement. “Ramon will be riding him, which is great, and we’ll go from there.”
The Duluth also drew Film Shot and Howe Great, third and second, respectively, in the Hill Prince. The Duluth is the second race on the Sunday card at Saratoga with a 1:33 p.m. EDT prospective post.
Summer Front, a $475,000 juvenile purchase in April 2011 at Keeneland, is by War Front out of the El Prado mare Rose of Summer.