08/20/2008 11:00PM

Course, distance suit Summer Doldrums


Summer Doldrums leads a field of 12 in the $100,000 Leeward at Presque Isle on Saturday evening. Trained by Richard Violette, Summer Doldrums is 2 for 2 over the Presque Isle Tapeta surface, winning a one-mile optional claiming race June 8 by 12 lengths and then coming back to win the $175,000 Presque Isle Mile on July 4 in track-record time.

In his last out July 27, the 4-year-old son of Street Cry ran an even fifth, beaten 3 1/2 lengths, in the Grade 3 Seagram Cup at Woodbine. Summer Doldrums is 3 for 3 at the one-mile distance of the Leeward. Jockey Dale Beckner is reunited with Summer Doldrums and should have him just off the pace, a running style that should be well suited in the Leeward, a race where there is an abundance of early speed.

Much of that early speed will come from Ravalo. Trained by Don Barr, Ravalo has won 4 of 6 races this year, all of them sprints. Ravalo won the Allen's Prospect at Pimlico on April 19 and the Decathalon on May 10 at Monmouth, both six-furlong races. He then won the 5 1/2-furlong Karl Boyes Memorial on June 1 at Presque Isle by two lengths.

In his last out, Ravalo ran fourth, beaten 8 1/2 lengths, in the Grade 3 Smile Sprint Handicap on July 12 at Calder. Jockey Dana Whitney will try to harness Ravalo's speed and get him to go a mile for only the second time in his career.

Independent George, winner of the Presque Isle Mile last year, comes into the Leeward off two respectable finishes in graded stakes. Trained by Graham Motion, Independent George ran fourth, beaten two lengths, in the Grade 1 United Nations on July 5 at Monmouth and most recently was fifth, beaten five lengths, in the Grade 2 Nijinsky on Aug. 4 at Woodbine. Leading jockey Rex Stokes will ride.