Under a patient and rail-skimming ride from Luis Saez, Hot Summer took over in upper stretch and bounded home for her first black-type win in the $150,000 Comely Stakes (gr. III) (VIDEO) April 9 at Aqueduct.
The 3-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon was making her first start since finishing fifth to Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) favorite R Heat Lightning in the Feb. 26 Davona Dale Stakes(gr. II) at Gulfstream Park in her season debut. She won for the third time in five lifetime starts.
Hot Summer is owned by Harold Queen and trained by David Fawkes. She was bred in Virginia by Lazy Lane Farms.
Breaking from the rail in a field of seven, Hot Summer was kept along the inside the entire way by Saez. She raced in third down the backstretch while R Holiday Mood set the pace under John Velazquez and Mysterious Chimes followed. They led the way through testing fractions of :23.10 and :46, with undefeated and favored Ava K. racing alongside Hot Summer.
When they came off the turn R Holiday Summer still held a narrow advantage over Ava K. and a rallying Her Smile, but at the top of the stretch Hot Summer found a seem along the rail and passed her three rivals. She was kept to task by Saez while holding off Her Smile by 2 1/4 lengths.
The final time for one mile on the fast main track was 1:35.58. Her Smile and David Cohen were two lengths in front of third-place Ava K.
"(I saw on paper) that she’s got speed," said Saez, who was riding Hot Summer for the first time. "When she got to the gate, she wanted to go, but I got hold of her. At the three-eighths pole, I waited for the hole to open, and she responded. This is my first time riding here. I like it.”
Hot Summer is out of the Quiet American mare Summer Delight. A $180,000 Keeneland September yearling sale graduate of 2009, she upped her earnings to $158,200.
“I didn’t think (the rail would open)," Fawkes said. "I didn’t think she would get through there. (In the Davona Dale) she stumbled a little bit and was rushed a little bit, and that isn’t her. We’ve been working hard with her to sit off the pace, and it worked out. We’ll talk to Mr. Queen and try to make a plan. I think she’s going to stay here. We’ll find something. There will be something, somewhere.”
The winner paid $14, $6.90, and $4. The exacta (1-3) returned $48.40 and the trifecta (1-3-5) was worth $123.