Updated on 05/18/2013 3:17PM

DuPont Distaff: Summer Applause strongest in stretch

Barbara D. Livingston
Summer Applause (right) responds to Sea Island's challenge in the stretch of the DuPont.

BALTIMORE – Minutes after the first rain shower of the racing day, Summer Applause proved a popular winner of the Grade 3, $150,000 Allaire DuPont Distaff on the Preakness undercard at Pimlico.

Summer Applause, who paid $5.20 as the favorite, turned back a stretch challenge from Sea Island to score by two lengths. Brushed by a Star, the 2-1 second choice, never was a serious threat after loping along last in the field of five early behind a very slow pace. She did manage third, though, finishing three lengths behind the runner-up.

It was just under a length farther back to Daydreamin Gracie, the tired pacesetter, in fourth. Moon Philly finished a tired last after stumbling at the start.

Under John Velazquez, Summer Applause completed the 1 1/16 miles over a fast track in 1:46.54. But that time had to be compromised by a crawling pace that produced fractions of 25.77 seconds, 51.42, and 1:15.70.

Summer Applause, a 4-year-old daughter of Harlan’s Holiday–Summer Exhibition, by Royal Academy, was winning her second stakes of the year for owners Gillian Campbell, Greenwood Lodge Farm, Dan Clark, and Greg Skoda. In March, she won the Grade 2 Top Flight Handicap at Aqueduct in her first start for trainer Chad Brown, but she followed up that effort with a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom last time out.

[PREAKNESS STAKES: Race replays and reactions from Pimlico]

Last year, Summer Applause won the Grade 3 Rachel Alexandra and was a creditable fourth in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks.

Summer Applause was an imposing presence in the DuPont from the outset, lightly pressuring the pace set by Daydreamin Gracie and responding when Moon Philly made a sharp move entering the far turn to challenge for the lead. By upper stretch, Summer Applause was in front and had more than enough left to deny a good late bid on the outside from Sea Island.

“I asked her for run the last quarter of a mile, and she responded well,” Velazquez said of Summer Applause. “When I needed to move with her, she gave me the run I asked for.”

“She ran great,” Brown said. “She was spotting everyone six pounds. To really pull away like that and to run such a strong race against some nice fillies, giving weight, I’m really proud of her.”