Lismore Knight Wins Summer Stakes Stretch Duel

(From track report)
Lismore Knight and jockey Pat Day outbattled Wando and Jim McAleney in a thrilling stretch duel Sunday at Woodbine to win the $291,250 Summer Stakes (gr. IIT).

Part of the Atto Mile undercard, the Summer has been won in the past by such champions as Sky Classic, Sound Reason and L'Enjoleur.

It was anybody's race as the field was spread seven-wide turning for home in the one-mile contest on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course.

Wando, who entered the Summer unbeaten in two efforts, surged to the front in mid-stretch, but was chased by the 3-2 favorite Lismore Knight, who took aim on the inside. After matching strides for a short while, Lismore Knight, a son of Woodman, got the upper hand near the wire and prevailed by a head.

Walls of Jericho closed to be third, 6 1/2 lengths further back, as the mile was timed in 1:35.33.

"It was absolutely impressive," said assistant trainer Ginny Depasquale. "He bobbled a bit coming from the gate. Pat (Day) just took his time. He's really patient and just let him run his race and really got after him in the stretch. I had a good feeling (going into the race). But with 2-year-olds, you never know what they are going to do."

Trained by Todd Pletcher for owners J.J. Pletcher and Barry Simon, Lismore Knight had debuted impressively at Belmont in July, a nine-length romp in a six-furlong maiden turf event. He then contested a stake at Monmouth Park in August, a race originally carded for the grass but switched to the main track because of weather. The colt finished a well-beaten fifth as the odds-on choice with Jerry Bailey in the irons.

Lismore Knight was placed in fifth for most of the trip, more than five lengths off the pace set by Natchez and My Boy Kyle, until the field started to bunch up coming off the far turn.

Said Day, "We broke alright. He started getting his feet under him after the first half mile getting into the turn. Then we got pinched back a little bit. I thought that might have discouraged him but it didn't. We kind of had to bide our time till we found a seam. When we did and I called on him, he responded very gamely."

"That horse (Wando) made a real race of it down inside the sixteenth pole, then he (Lismore Knight) was starting to get away from him a bit at the wire. He's got a great future."

The race also proved an excellent turf debut for the 4-1 second choice Wando, winner of the Vandal Stakes in his last effort. Trained by Mike Keogh for Gustav Schickedanz, the son of 1996 Sovereign Award-winning sprinter Langfuhr looked like a winner in deep stretch, but couldn't hold Lismore Knight off in the closing yards.

Stroll, the 3-1 morning line favorite from the Bill Mott Stable, was an early scratch from the Summer.

For the win, Lismore Knight banked $174,750 and paid $5.00, $3.40 and $2.80, combining with Wando ($4.70, $3.60) for a $23.80 (7-1) exactor. A 7-1-3 (Walls of Jericho, $4.00 to show) returned $102.20.

(Chart, Equibase)