06/16/2012 5:58PM

Belmont Park: Summer Front convincing in Hill Prince victory

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Summer Front rolls by Howe Great to win the Hill Prince at Belmont Park on Saturday.

ELMONT, N.Y. - The last time trainer Christophe Clement won the Hill Prince Stakes, that horse went on to win 10 graded stakes, three Eclipse Awards and $6.1 million in purse money.

While it's too early to say Summer Front is the next Gio Ponti, there were times during the running of Saturday's Hill Prince at Belmont Park where Clement's thoughts harkened back to Gio Ponti.

Boxed in until the sixteenth pole, Summer Front was guided into the four path by Ramon Dominguez, then displayed an explosive turn of foot to roar past Howe Great and win the Grade 3, $150,000 Hill Prince by one-half length. Howe Great finished second by one length over Film Shot.

The victory was the fourth in as many career starts on turf for Summer Front, who, like Gio Ponti, earned his first graded stakes victory in the Hill Prince. Summer Front was coming off an 18-length loss in the Peter Pan run on dirt last month.

"He did remind me of Gio Ponti, because in three strides he goes from being beat to coming back," Clement said.

Breaking from the rail, Summer Front rated in fourth, inside of Howe Great, under Alan Garcia. Spring to the Sky, under Mike Luzzi, ran an opening quarter in 23.22 seconds and a half-mile in 46:24, pressed by Film Shot.

In upper stretch, Howe Great joined the leaders three wide, but Summer Front was still stuck inside. Dominguez didn't find room until the sixteenth pole when he got Summer Front to the outside and without Dominguez even raising his whip, Summer Front outsprinted Howe Great to the wire.

Summer Front, a 3-year-old son of War Front onwed by Waterford Stable, covered the mile in 1:33.74 over firm turf and returned $4.70 as the favorite.

"Once I got him out, you always think you have horse, but that kind of move obviously takes a lot [out of] a horse," Dominguez said. "He didn't miss a beat - just super impressed."

"Ramon has always liked that horse," Clement said.  "He has great confidence in him - [he] obviously knew he was going to get there because he never hit him, he never panicked."

As he did with Gio Ponti in 2008, Clement said he plans to point Summer Front to the Grade 2, $600,000 Virginia Derby, run at 1 1/4 miles, on July 21 at Colonial Downs.