Trainer Richard Violette Jr. might have thought he was dealt a raw hand in the $69,000 Straight Deal Stakes at Belmont Park three and-a-half weeks ago when Strike A Deal negotiated with racing karma to win by a nose over his colt Summer Doldrums.
In Saturday’s $750,000 Colonial Turf Cup (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) for 3-year-olds at Colonial Downs, Violette’s colt came into season as Summer Doldrums returned the favor with much higher stakes.
Jockey Jose Lezcano guided Summer Doldrums to the outside and was able to keep his colt's head in front of Strike a Deal who ran evenly with the winner inside the sixteenth pole.
Summer Doldrums (Street Cry (IRE) - Dance for Dixie, by Unaccounted For) paid $9.60, $5.60, and $4.40.
Strike a Deal went off as the 5-2 favorite and paid $3.80 and $3.60.
Souvenir Slew, paid $8 to show as a 20-1 shot after setting token fractions of 24.31, 48.84, 1:13.75 and 1:37.62 for the mile.
The final time of 1:55.68 for the 1 3/8 miles was well off the track record mark of 1:52.98 set by Showing Up last year.
Coming out of the turn on the Secretariat Turf Course, Summer Doldrums and Strike a Deal quickened almost simultaneously. Moving up on Solder’s Dancer, who was also beginning to make his move on the frontrunner, Summer Doldrums went to the outside as Strike a Deal found room only to Soldier’s Dancer inside.
After a slight brush with Brainy Benny (IRE), Lezcano was a step quicker to the open green while Strike a Deal appeared to look at him on his right. Souvenir Slew was vulnerable on the lead and was an easy get for the stakes barn stall neighbors in the stretch duel. Strike a Deal couldn’t gain ground on Summer Doldrums as they fought to the wire but didn’t surrender any either.
A rematch between the two colts could occur in the $1 million Virginia Derby (gr. IIT) on July 21, the second leg of the Jacob’s Investments Grand Slam of Grass that guarantees a $5 million payout to the winner of the Colonial Turf Cup, Virginia Derby, $400,000 Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT), and $3 million John Deere Breeder’s Cup Turf (gr. IT).
Summer Doldrums pushed his bankroll to $631,716 with the win, worth $450,000. The Colonial Turf was Summer Doldrums’ fourth win from 10 starts for Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence.
Mysterious Peintre finished fourth, followed by Love Dubai, Soldier's Dancer, Brainy Benny, Mint Slewlep, and Time Squared.