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Belmont Park notes: Summer Front returns to turf for Hill Prince
ELMONT, N.Y. – Summer Front’s career on dirt didn’t last long.
After finishing eighth of 10 in the Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes here last month, Summer Front is heading back to the turf, topping a field of 11 entered Wednesday for Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Hill Prince Stakes going a mile at Belmont Park.
Summer Front, a son of War Front, won his first three starts – including the King Cugat and Dania Beach Stakes – on turf as a 2-year-old. He didn’t make his 3-year-old debut until April, when he finished a respectable second in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes over Keeneland’s synthetic surface.
According to trainer Christophe Clement, Summer Front had trained very well on dirt during the winter at the Payson Park training center in south Florida. So, he tried him in the Peter Pan. Summer Front stumbled at the start, but he was never a factor in the race, finishing 18 1/4 lengths behind Mark Valeski.
“It was not a good experiment, but the way he trained it was a necessary experiment,” Clement said. “He’s unbeaten on turf. He’s a nice horse. We’ll see what happens.”
Since the Peter Pan, Summer Front has worked twice on the turf, including a five-furlong move in 59.84 seconds on June 3 in company with the mare Wallis.
Ramon Dominguez will ride Summer Front, who drew the rail in the 11-horse field.
Howe Great is 3 for 4 on turf, including two stakes victories at Gulfstream Park. He suffered his first turf loss in the Grade 2 American Turf on Derby Day when he finished third behind Silver Max. Howe Great hit the side of the gate that day when he broke from the extreme outside post in the 13-horse field.
Howe Great will break from post 9 on Saturday.
Margano, a full-brother to Barbaro, Big Screen, Film Shot, Spring to the Sky, Mr. Handsome, Shkspeare Shaliyah, Our Entourage, Star Channel, and Monarchic complete the field on turf.
Swag Daddy, Le Bernardin, and Easter Gift were entered only if the race is moved to the main track. After more than an inch of rain pelted the area on Wednesday, forecasts called for clear and dry conditions beginning Thursday.
It’s Tricky eyes Delaware Handicap
It’s Tricky, coming off a solid victory in the Grade 1 Odgen Phipps here on May 28, will likely make her next start in the $750,000 Delaware Handicap on July 21, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said this week.
Earlier, McLaughlin had mentioned the Molly Pitcher at Monmouth as a possibility, but liked the timing and the conditions of the Del Cap better.
“The timing’s good, the purse is great, we’re pointing that way,” McLaughlin said. “We’re still five or six weeks away. I’ll speak to Simon Crisford as we get closer. It’s not the ideal distance and the track can be a little funny.”
The Del Cap, run at 1 1/4 miles, could also draw Awesome Maria, who had her six-race winning streak snapped by It’s Tricky in the Phipps.
Jockeys will be double-dipping
Eleven members of the New York jockey colony will be hurrying out of Belmont Park at various times Saturday to get to other jurisdictions.
Javier Castellano, Julien Leparoux, John Velazquez, Rosie Napravnik, and Jose Lezcano will cut out after the sixth and catch a private plane from Farmingdale Airport to Louisville to ride the stakes at Churchill.
Joe Bravo, Rajiv Maragh, Edgar Prado, Ramon Dominguez, Eddie Castro, and Mike Luzzi will be able to ride the entire Belmont card before catching a private flight to Virginia to ride the Colonial Turf Cup and other stakes.
Pletcher mulls options for Caixa Eletronica
Trainer Todd Pletcher isn’t sure what’s next for Caixa Eletronica, who unleashed a furious late kick to win Saturday’s Grade 2 True North Handicap.
Though he has shown the ability to win at 1 1/8 miles – he took the $1 million Charles Town Classic two starts back – a race like the Suburban here on July 7 is unlikely considering the same owner, Mike Repole, has Travers winner Stay Thirsty for that race.
Pletcher could keep Caixa Eletronica sprinting and point for a race such as the Grade 3 James Marvin at seven furlongs on opening day at Saratoga.
Under the proper conditions, Caixa Eletronica could also run in a starter handicap, considering he was running in claiming races in 2010-11.
Meanwhile, Pletcher still marveled the way Caixa Eletronica was able to rally from last to nip Justin Phillip by three-quarters of a length in the True North.
“I thought he was a little too far back at the half-mile pole,” Pletcher said. “Even though the race was unfolding the way I thought it would, to me there was too much separation. In the middle of the turn I figured he’d finish like he has a lot of times but I thought he still had a lot to do to.”
Gio Ponti’s sister sidelined
Antonia Autumn, the half-sister to multiple Grade 1 stakes Gio Ponti who made an auspicious debut, is getting some time off after sustaining a minor injury, trainer Christophe Clement said.
“She was not right behind so she’s just getting a break,” Clement said. “There was a question of soundness behind.”
Antonia Autumn, a daughter of Bernstein, won her debut by two lengths here on April 29.
OMG!!! News from overseas: Head Preparing Royal Ascot Ambush For Caviar Master French horseman Freddie Head has praised Black Caviar's connections for taking the mare across the world to compete at the Royal Ascot carnival but refused to concede the champion will have a walk in the park in the Group I Diamond Jubilee Stakes on Saturday June 23, 2012. Head rode the champion mare Miesque to Breeders' Cup Mile (8f) triumphs in 1987 and 1988 before training Goldikova to three successes in the same race between 2008 and 2010. She also finished third in the same race in 2011. The trainer said Black Caviar's connections were "brave" for making the long trek to Europe but the racing is full of unknowns. "It's great for them to come and to put their unbeaten record on the line. They are very brave and great sportsmen," he told The Telegraph. "But we will see. You have to race, that is what this game is all about." Head will run Moonlight Cloud against Black Caviar in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes. The mare is a clear second favourite behind Black Caviar on the strength of her latest win in the Group III Prix Du Palais Royal (7f) in a time of 1:19.31 at Longchamp, which caught the attention of Black Caviar's trainer Peter Moody at a recent press conference. Moonlight Bay proved superior to last year's Golden Jubilee Stakes winner Society Rock in the Group I Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville in August last year. Head said the daughter of Invincible Spirit was a better horse than last year. "Perhaps it is because she is easier to ride this year. She is settling better in her races," Head said Stay tuned!