Favored Summerly joined the ranks of graded stakes winners Saturday with an impressive win over eight rivals in the $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies at Fair Grounds.
A talented Kentucky-bred daughter of Summer Squall trained by Steve Asmussen, Summerly clocked a swift 1:43 3/5 for the 1 1/6-mile event. With Donnie Meche aboard, Summerly kicked away from the pacesetting California invader Cee's Irish on the far turn to win by 3 1/4 lengths.
"We're very glad she is a graded stakes winner now," Asmussen said. "We'll try to prepare her for the Fair Grounds Oaks."
Switched to routes after struggling in her sprint debut at Saratoga Aug. 1, Summerly broke her maiden by 14 lengths at Keeneland. She then ran a credible third, beaten by 4 3/4 lengths by Runway Model, in her third start, the Golden Rod (gr. II) at Churchill Downs Nov. 27. Given nearly two months off, Summerly returned to action Jan. 17 with a 9 3/4-length victory in an optional claiming/allowance race at Fair Grounds.
"I think her race last time felt we were capable of (winning the Silverbulletday)," Asmussen said. "We thought that this was where she's graduated to."
Saturday, she was three wide while rated just off the pace set by Cee's Irish, who was ridden by Tyler Baze through moderate fractions of :23 3/5, :47 2/5 and 1:12 3/5. Summerly broke off from the pack in upper stretch as Cee's Irish backed out and outsider Eyes On Eddy, ridden by James Graham, rallied on the far outside to finish a non-threatening second, 1 1/4 lengths in front of the 2-1 second choice, Enduring Will.
"When I asked her at the quarter pole, she gave me a lot of run," Meche said. "She kept getting faster with every jump."
Although he has dominated the Fair Grounds' 3-year-old filly ranks in recent years, Asmussen won his first Silverbulletday.
Enduring Will failed to challenge the winner in spite of a clean stalking inside trip for jockey John Velazquez.
The Beter Man Can, who defeated Enduring Will in the Tiffany Lass in her last start Jan. 15 at Fair Grounds, finished fourth.
Summerly's third win in five starts was worth $90,000 to owner Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC, pushing her bankroll to $161,035. A $410,000 Keeneland yearling buy, Summerly is out of the Mr. Prospector broodmare Here I Go. T.F. Van Meter and Michael Lowenbaum bred her.
She paid $5, $3.40 and $2.60, combining with Eyes On Eddy ($10.20, $4.60) fro a $53.80 exacta. Enduring Will's show was $2.60.
After The Beter Man Can came Cee's Irish, Elsie Lucille, Glorious Prospect, Private Gift, and Steal the Show.