With Ramon Dominguez riding for trainer Christophe Clement, 13-10 favorite Summer Front raced in fourth from the inside for most of the one-mile turf stakes before easing out in mid-stretch and closing rapidly to catch Howe Great and pull away by a half-length. Howe Great, who sat in third throughout before taking a slim lead just past the eighth pole, finished one length ahead of Film Shot, who stalked pacesetter Spring to the Sky to mid-stretch.
Summer Front, a Kentucky-bred War Front colt bred by Graceville Breeding, paid $4.70 to win as the favorite. The final time was 1:33.74 over a firm Widener Turf Course. The bay colt is out the unraced mare Rose of Summer, by El Prado, and sold for $475,000 at Keeneland in April 2011.
Spring to the Sky's fractions for the Hill Prince were quick -- :23.22, :46.24. 1:10.42, and 1:33.74 for the mile .
“Turning for home, I was concerned about being on the inside,” Dominguez said. “Unfortunately, I had no choice. The one thing that I was very happy about was the way my horse was handling himself. He was on the bridle where he was going to really go, and sure enough when I got him out, he did.
“A move like that always takes a lot of horse out of you, and I was very impressed with him.”
Clement said he would consider the grade II Virginia Derby on the grass for Summer Front. Clement won the 2008 Hill Prince and Virginia Derby with Gio Ponti .
“That’s what we did, and it worked,” Clement said. “I don’t like to compare (Summer Front and Gio Ponti) too much, but it worked in the past. We’ll have to think about it again.
Summer Front, now four-for-four on the turf, finished second in the grade III Lexington Stakes on the Polytrack at Keeneland, but failed to fire after a poor start in the grade II Peter Pan at Belmont on the dirt, finishing eighth. The colt is now a three-time stakes winner on grass.
“I’ve always liked my horse," Clement said "I messed up by running him in the Lexington and Peter Pan, but I had to try because he really trained well on dirt and it’d be a mistake not to try."
Summer Front has a career mark of 4-1-0 in six races with earnings of $256,800.