04/09/2011 4:55PM

Aqueduct: Hot Summer takes advantage of ground-saving trip in Comely

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Hot Summer and Luis Saez find room along the rail to win the Comely at 6-1 odds.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Benefitting from a ground-saving trip and a patient ride from Luis Saez, Hot Summer slid through an opening along the rail in upper stretch and drew off to a 2 1/4-length victory in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Comely Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Aqueduct.

Her Smile, who had to go five wide in the stretch, finished second, two lengths in front of Ava K., the 7-5 favorite. She was followed in the order of finish by R Holiday Mood, Mysterious Chimes, Vixen’s Roar, and Royal Sighting.

It was the third win from five starts for Hot Summer, a Virginia-bred daughter of Malibu Moon owned by Harold Queen and trained by David Fawkes.

Hot Summer was coming off a 15 1/4-length loss to R Heat Lightning in the Grade 2 Davona Dale at Gulfstream on Feb. 26. Fawkes said Hot Summer stumbled and was rushed up to the lead in that race, which is not the way she prefers to run.

Saturday, leaving from the rail, Hot Summer broke well, but was taken behind horses by Saez as R Holiday Mood, under John Velazquez, set early fractions of 23.10 seconds for the quarter and 46.00 for the half-mile, chased by Mysterious Chimes, who stumbled badly at the start.

Turning into the stretch, R Holiday Mood came off the rail, which enabled Saez to shoot Hot Summer on through at the three-sixteenths pole. Hot Summer finished well and was able to outkick Her Smile, who was forced to go five wide under David Cohen in the stretch.

“At the three-eighth pole John [Velazquez] goes a little bit out and I went into the spot,” Saez said. “I was waiting for it open. She ran really good, finished really strong.”

Hot Summer paid $14. She covered the mile in 1:35.58 seconds, narrowly missing the stakes record of 1:35.50 for the distance established by Bella Bellucci in 2002. Madison’s Charm ran 1:35.54 in 1999.

“We’ve been working hard with her to sit off the pace and how she ran today is what we’ve been kind of trying to do with the filly”’ said Fawkes, a Calder-based trainer who plans to bring 30 horses to New York this summer. “The fractions were a little soft and had me a little nervous going to the three-eighths pole, but obviously she prevailed.”

Cohen said if the rail didn’t open for Hot Summer, he would have won the race aboard Her Smile.

“There’s a wall of horses, everyone’s running, my only choice is to get my horse rolling and carry on with her,” Cohen said. “The winner ran a good race and got a dream trip. If the other horses hold on and don’t open it up, I win easily.”