01/15/2011 5:40PM

Aspenglow makes it six in row by taking What a Summer

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Aspenglow, under Travis Dunkelberger, cruises to her sixth consecutive victory in the What a Summer.

Although the 5-year-old mare Aspenglow is based in Maryland, she does most of her running across in the border in West Virginia, where she has won 12 of 14 starts. Making a rare appearance at her home track Laurel Park on Saturday, Aspenglow proved just as adept as she has been out of town, cruising to her sixth straight victory in the $75,000 What a Summer Stakes.

In completing the six furlongs in 1:10.21, Aspenglow ($3.20) won for the 14th time in 19 starts. She is 2 for 5 at Laurel, with both those victories coming in six-furlong sprints since December.

“She’s really running well. She always has,” said Gary Capuano, who trains Aspenglow for owner Nancy Terhune. “But this race she was just phenomenal today. Her last two races here were just great. I don’t know how much better she can get but she’s doing well. She’s a little older now and she’s maturing. She’s a strong filly and seems to be getting better each time.”


A daughter of Lion Hearted, Aspenglow is expected to make her next start in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Laurel on Feb. 19.


“Gary has done an unbelievable job with her,” said jockey Travis Dunkelberger, who now needs 14 wins to reach 3,500 for his career. “It was her best performance yet. He has taken his time with her and she has continued to grow with each start. She used to run off early and run as fast as she could as long as she could. Gary has taught her to settle and she just gets better and better. She ran unbelievable today.”

Aspenglow turned the tables on last year’s What a Summer winner, Sweet Goodbye, who finished third at 7-2 while making her first start since last May.

Aspenglow was under pressure throughout the early stages of the What a Summer, pressured first by the 18-1 longshot Don’tgetsuspicious and then Five Diamonds while setting fractions of 22.71 and 45.91 seconds. Five Diamonds, stepping up to stakes company following back-to-back wins at Laurel, was still within a head of Aspenglow at the eighth pole, but Dunkelberger asked his mount for more and hand-rode her to the wire as she drew off by 4 1/4 lengths.

Five Diamonds easily held second, 2 1/4 lengths in front of Sweet Goodbye, whose three stakes wins in 2010 included the Barbara Fritchie.