03/02/2013 4:43PM

Aqueduct: Summer Applause rebounds with Top Flight victory

Michael Amoruso
Summer Applause, with John Velazquez riding, wraps up victory in the Top Flight.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Summer Applause put her disastrous 4-year-old debut behind her as she scored a handy 2 3/4-length victory in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Top Flight Handicap at Aqueduct.

Under John Velazquez, Summer Applause rallied from fourth position to take the lead in upper stretch, and though she loafed a bit when she struck the front, she was good enough to earn the victory. Twice the Lady, who got into a brief wrestling match with jockey Cornelio Velasquez down the backstretch, outfinished Sunny Desert by a neck for second.

It was the fourth victory in nine career starts for Summer Applause, who at 3 won the Grade 3 Rachel Alexandra at Fair Grounds and ran fourth in the Kentucky Oaks. A knee chip sidelined her for the remainder of her 3-year-old season.

It also enabled her to rebound her from a last-place finish in the Houston Ladies Classic in which her saddle slipped, the jockey lost the irons, and she finished last.

Saturday, the mishaps were reserved for Natalie Victoria and Withgreatpleasure, both expected pacesetters, who got left at the gate. They exhausted themselves chasing - and passing Sisterly Love - while Velazquez sat comfortable in fourth with Summer Applause.

Entering the far turn, Velazquez sent Summer Applause towards the leaders. She took charge in upper stretch and despite getting a little lazy in the stretch was never threatened.

“It was definitely too soon going to the lead,” Velazquez said. “Now she got to the lead and she started waiting and kind of lugging in a little bit, but she got the job done anyway.”

Summer Applause, a daughter of Harlan’s Holiday, covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.10 and returned $4.60 to win.

Summer Applause, owned by Gillian Campbell, Greenwood Lodge Farm, and R Group Management, was making her first start for trainer Chad Brown.

“I thought she ran really well,” said Cherie DeVaux, the New York-based assistant to Brown. Johnny put in her in really good position and she came running.”