05/01/2012 12:11PM

Churchill Downs: Summer Applause keeps to own schedule for Kentucky Oaks

Barbara D. Livingston
Summer Applause had her last timed work for the Kentucky Oaks on April 20.

Summer Applause has not posted a timed workout since April 20, nor has she been seen during the special training window, 8:30 to 8:45 a.m., reserved for Kentucky Derby and Oaks starters. But those two facts do not mean that anything has gone amiss with Summer Applause, trainer Bret Calhoun said, and Calhoun remains bullish on Summer Applause’s chances Friday in the Kentucky Oaks.

Summer Applause finished second in the Silverbulletday Stakes, impressively won the Rachel Alexandra Stakes, and was beaten a head by Believe You Can in the Fair Grounds Oaks during a highly productive winter in New Orleans. Her first work after the Fair Grounds Oaks, on April 13, was a near-bullet half-mile at Churchill, and her five-furlong breeze here a week later was timed in 59.60 seconds, the fastest work among 28 at the distance that day. Calhoun said that Summer Applause galloped out after the work at a strong clip, going six furlongs in a little more than 1:12 and seven furlongs in 1:27. On Fire Baby, one of the Oaks favorites, worked seven furlongs the same morning, and her workout time was only a fifth of a second faster than Summer Applause’s gallop-out.

[KENTUCKY OAKS: Get PPs, watch analysis video, and read pre-race reports]

“She’s kind of a light-made filly, and I just didn’t see the need to give her another work after she worked so strong,” Calhoun said. “We decided just to gallop her into the race.”

Summer Applause has not been the most straightforward horse to train, with Calhoun having taken over her care after a private purchase this winter. He said Summer Applause always has gone to the track in the first or second set of trainees every morning, and in an effort to maintain continuity Calhoun eschewed the special after-the-break training period.

“She’s always trained in the first or second set, and we just wanted to keep her in her routine,” Calhoun said.