Always a consistent horse, Waterford Stable's In Summation has been close to invincible since New York-based trainer Christophe Clement came to California last summer to win the Bing Crosby Handicap (gr. I) on Del Mar's Polytrack July 29. The 5-year-old Florida-bred son of Put It Back has won three of four starts since Clement made the switch to synthetic surfaces.
In Summation has a win over the tricky Santa Anita Cushion Track in his most recent try, the El Conejo Handicap (gr. III) contested at 5 1/2 furlongs Jan. 1, and did it against a track bias, coming from the back of the five-horse field to defeat Palos Verdes rival Barbecue Eddie by one length in a time of 1:01 1/5. The dark bay has won nine of his 20 career starts with five seconds and earned $815,166.
Assigned top weight of 122 pounds including jockey Corey Nakatani, In Summation heads a field of seven in the six-furlong Palos Verdes. The event lost a major attraction when trainer Bob Baffert opted to skip the race with Midnight Lute, likely to be named the Eclipse Award winner as the nation's top sprinter in 2007 a couple of hours after the race.
After a strong workout last week, Baffert said he was going to run Midnight Lute in the Palos Verdes. But he said he “changed his mind” later and decided to follow his original plan to begin the 5-year-old's 2008 campaign in the seven-furlong San Carlos Handicap (gr. II) on Feb. 16.
Surf Cat, winless in three starts since returning from a 14-month layoff in July for trainer Bruce Headley, is the only other North American graded winner in the field. The 6-year-old Sir Cat horse has not been out since finishing fifth in his turf debut, the Oak Tree Mile (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Oct. 7. He was certainly not embarrassed in his other two starts last year, finishing a close second in both Hollywood's Triple Bend Handicap (gr. II) and Del Mar's Pat O'Brien Handicap (gr. II) on all-weather tracks.
The consistent Surf Cat won three consecutive grade II races in 2006 and owns a lifetime record of 7-5-0 in 14 starts with earnings of $687,420.
Puerto Rican invader Copa de Plata makes his U.S. debut and his initial start for trainer Brian Koriner after compiling a 5-3-1 record in 10 starts.
“We got him in the middle of December," Koriner said of the 5-year-old Pioneering horse. "The folks in Puerto Rico bragged on him, but then we saw he was in once for a claiming price of $22,500. He’s a big, pretty horse. He’s got a lot of ability, but we weren’t really ready to run him yet. But I guess they have big hype coming from Puerto Rico."
Koriner also conditions Barbecue Eddie, grade I placed in Oak Tree's Ancient Title in October prior to his big effort against In Summation in the El Conejo. The lightly raced 4-year-old Maryland-bred son of Stormy Atlantic seeks his first stakes victory.
The Brazilian-bred Fly Dorcego has won two of five starts since being transferred to trainer Paulo Lobo last summer, including an allowance optional claiming victory at 6 1/2 furlongs over the Santa Anita Cushion Track Jan. 4. The 6-year-old Choctaw Ridge horse won a grade II race in his native country in July 2006.
Ididn'tdoanything posted back-to-back wins for trainer Ted West before running sixth in the Malibu Stakes (gr. I) at odds of 45-1 in his last start Dec. 26.
Soul City Slew comes off a 2 1/2-length optional claiming win Dec. 8 at Hollywood Park for trainer Mike Mitchell.
$150,000 Palos Verdes Handicap (gr. II, Race 8, 3:37 p.m.), 4 & Up, 6 Furlongs (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. In Summation (FL), 122, Corey S. Nakatani
2. Surf Cat (KY), 120, Alex O. Solis
3. Barbecue Eddie (MD), 116, Aaron T. Gryder
4. Ididn'tdoanything (FL), 113, Joseph Talamo
5. Fly Dorcego (BRZ), 114, David R. Flores
6. Copa de Plata (KY), 113, Victor Espinoza
7. Soul City Slew (KY), 114, Michael C. Baze