Sent off at 1-2 in the field of six, the New York-bred Lawrence the Roman faded off the board and created some gigantic show payoffs as a result.
Klaravich Stable and William H. Lawrence’s Summer Doldrums notched the front-running, 5 1/4-length victory under Mike Luzzi in 1:42.23 for trainer Rick Violette Jr. over the 1 1/16-mile inner track distance. It was the start of a big afternoon for Violette, who moments later, saddled Dream Rush to an upset victory over previously undefeated Dreaming of Anna, the 2006 juvenile filly champion, in the Old Hat (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park.
The Whirlaway marked the third win in six starts for Summer Doldrums, a Street Cry colt with earnings of $110,276.
Summer Doldrums was briefly challenged early by Sports Town after an opening quarter mile of :23.58, but Luzzi kept his mount busy on the inside and pulled away in the lane after getting a half-mile in :47.
Violette said he would likely run Summer Doldrums back in the $200,000 Gotham (gr. III) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on March 10.
“I like that it’s around two turns,” he said. “If it were one turn, I’d do something else.”
Summer Doldrums paid $9.30, $4.60 and $8.20. Sir Whimsey rallied for second and returned $7.30 and $19.80. Sports Town showed at $15.40.
“I don’t know what to tell you,” jockey Edgar Prado said of Lawrence the Roman. “He broke okay and was right behind the speed. I thought I was in a good spot. Down the backstretch, he threw the bit in and kept going backwards. He came back okay, so we’ll see.”