03/24/2011 4:32PM

Bourbonette Oaks a showcase for Summer Soiree


Summer Soiree had a largely forgettable 2-year-old campaign, winning one of six starts and just once running a Beyer Speed Figure higher than a 48.

Little about her lone start of 2011 can be so easily forgotten. In a tour-de-force performance Jan. 30 at Oaklawn Park, Summer Soiree shot to the front in an allowance race and won by 9 3/4 lengths, posting an 85 Beyer.

Saturday when she faces stakes winners Lilacs and Lace, Harlan’s Ruby, Angelica Zapta, and seven 3-year-old fillies in the Grade 3, $100,000 Bourbonette Oaks at Turfway, she gets her chance to prove that race was a sign of things to come, not simply a fluke.

So why the sudden improvement in form?

“If you look in her past performances, you see last year she was trained by Cindy Jones and now it says Larry Jones,” quipped Larry Jones, knowing full well their training operation is run in the same manner.

That one is going to cost him with Cindy, his wife, to whom Larry served as assistantlast year while taking a year-long hiatus from being a head trainer.

This year it has been Cindy taking the well-deserved vacation from training, though she is staying busy this week overseeing the Jones stable at Oaklawn, while Larry is at Turfway, preparing Summer Soiree for the Bourbonette and The Ole Gen for the Rushaway.

Kidding aside, Jones believes Summer Soiree simply was not fond of the Delaware surface over which all of her races came last year. He said he noticed an immediate change in her when she began training at Oaklawn, and after galloping her Thursday at Turfway, he feels she shares an affinity for Turfway’s Polytrack, too.

Her pedigree hints she should like it. She is out of a Mazel Trick mare who won her only race on turf, and offspring of sire War Front, a son of Danzig, are just flat-out runners, with top sons Soldat and The Factor leading the way to become top Kentucky Derby prospects.

Gabe Saez, in from Oaklawn, rides Summer Soiree, a filly owned by Wahoo Partners and co-breeders Brereton and Bret Jones.

If Summer Soiree doesn’t handle the surface switch or reverts to her past form, Harlan’s Ruby looks like the filly most likely to visit the winner’s circle. She won the prep for the one-mile Bourbonette, the Feb. 26 Valdale Stakes, and was second in the Grade 1 Alcibiades last fall on the Polytrack at Keeneland.