Summer Colony wins the Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup Handicap, Saturday at Monmouth Park.

Summer Colony wins the Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup Handicap, Saturday at Monmouth Park.

AP/Equi-Photo: Bil Denver

Summer Colony Shows Readiness in Molly Pitcher

(from track report)
Edward P. Evans' Summer Colony, the only horse to beat Azeri, asserted her superiority through the stretch and drew off to win Saturday's $300,000 Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Monmouth Park by three lengths.

The late-closing She's Got the Beat finished second, a half-length in front of Call An Audible, with Alchemilla last in the field of four fillies and mares.

Summer Colony, trained by Mark Hennig and ridden by Gary Stevens, redeemed herself for finishing second in last year's running of the Molly Pitcher. She paid $2.80 and $2.10 as the 2-5 choice and topped a $7 exacta after racing the 1 1/8 mile over a fast main track in 1:51 4/5.

This was just the second start of the year for Summer Colony, a 5-year-old daughter of Summer Squall who was second in the Pimlico Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. III) last month. The mare, who underwent eye surgery, holds the distinction of defeating Azeri, Horse of the Year in 2002, who has won 10 straight since that defeat in February of last year.

Summer Colony uncharacteristically trailed the field into the final turn.

"Gary (jockey Stevens) was very confident the whole way," Hennig said. "We had the one hole and I didn't want her to get out there battling for the lead so I told Gary just to let her settle.

"We've had the two mile and a quarter races she won last year in mind all along (Delaware Handicap on July 20 and Personal Ensign at Saratoga on Aug. 22). That's her best distance. We've rested her for this year's campaign and she should be even fresher than last year."

"She was confident and I rode her with confidence," said Stevens, who is now two-for-two on the mare. "As they cleared me on the first turn I took her to the outside. You can't get in trouble out there. She does her best running on the outside. I'll take a rematch with Azeri. We already beat her once."

In the $50,000 Lincroft Handicap, run as the 10th race on Saturday's card, it was déjà vu all over again as Freedom Acres' American Freedom rolled through the stretch to score by three-quarters of a length over Ocean View Stables' Catechol. In the 2002 running of the Lincroft, American Freedom beat Catechol by a half-length.

American Freedom, trained by Jamie Woodington and ridden by Jose Velez Jr., raced the one mile over a firm turf course in 1:36 2/5 and paid $6.80, $3.40 and $3.80 across the board as the favorite in the field of 10. Catechol completed the $21.80 exacta. Beknown to Me, who led in the stretch, hung on to be third.

It was the third win of the day for Velez, who took the first aboard Gallant Tale ($6.60) and the eighth race on My New Love ($11.40).

(Chart, Equibase)