01/02/2012 5:45PM

Fair Grounds: Stakes possibilities for Summer Applause, Capetown Devil

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Christmas had come the weekend before, but there was Carolling going on this past Saturday at Fair Grounds.

Trainer Josie Carroll won a route allowance race with the 2-year-old filly Summer Applause to open the card, while the David Carroll-trained Capetown Devil captured the a similar race for 2-year-olds later that afternoon.

The allowance races were timed to give horses that ran well an opportunity to return on Jan. 21 for the first dirt-route stakes of the New Orleans season for 3-year-olds. As of Monday, Summer Applause seemed more certain than Capetown Devil to take advantage of that opportunity, which makes sense, since the filly was a far more visually impressive winner than the gelding.

Summer Applause, the product of a mating between Harlan’s Holiday and the Royal Academy mare Summer Exhibition, debuted over Woodbine’s Polytrack with a sixth-place finish on Oct 30, but moved significantly forward in her second start, on Dec. 3, to win a seven-furlong Woodbine maiden by more than two lengths. Saturday’s race marked her first around two turns and on dirt, and after making the lead from post 1 and setting moderate splits, Summer Applause dashed away from four foes to win by seven lengths. Her final time of 1:43.55 for one mile and 70 yards resulted in a Beyer Speed Figure of 83.

“I didn’t expect to be on the lead, but when Robby [Albarado] found himself there, he did the right thing,” said Josie Carroll, who trains Summer Applause for owner-breeder Greenwood Lodge Farm. “I thought she lived up to expectations. She’d worked really well here. When we chose to run her on dirt, she handled it extremely well.”

Carroll suggested that a fairly tight turnaround for the Jan. 21 Silverbulletday Stakes left little margin for error, but if Summer Applause satisfies her connections in next couple weeks, she’s likely to participate in that race.

“It’s three weeks, so she’d have to bounce out of this well, but if she does, we’d certainly have to look in that direction,” Carroll said.

Capetown Devil, meanwhile, ran his career record to 3 for 3, but Saturday’s race, which he won by a neck, was his first start under allowance conditions. Capetown Devil, a Randal family homebred, debuted with a $30,000 maiden-claiming victory at Keeneland before winning a one-turn-mile starter-allowance race at Churchill. Saturday, he gutted out a narrow victory over Gowhereyougaze – another former claimer – with favored Rock Harder third, a performance that will lead his connections to consider the Jan. 21 Lecomte Stakes while reserving the right to give Capetown Devil more time.

“He came out of the race in good shape, but it was going on two months since he’d run,” David Carroll said. “The Lecomte would be coming back pretty quick, and that was a pretty hard race.”

Applauding prepping for two turns

Awaiting Summer Applause – if she indeed makes the Silverbulletday – is a similarly named filly, Applauding, who is breezing along like clockwork for her first try around two turns, trainer Al Stall said.

Applauding set a Keeneland Polytrack record for six furlongs in her career debut, and won with similar ease making her first start on dirt in a Dec. 3 Fair Grounds allowance race. Both starts were sprints, and the speedy Applauding will be asked to carry her speed over a route of ground in the Silverbulletday.

Applauding, a Congrats filly, has worked three times since her allowance-race win, going in company on Dec. 21 and by herself in a solid drill last Friday.

“She’s right on schedule,” Stall said. “Her breezes have been perfect. She gallops relaxed, breezes relaxed.”

Plans are more fluid for Beanwah’smachine, who remained unbeaten after four starts with a 1 1/2-length victory in the colts and geldings division of the Louisiana Futurity on Saturday.

“He came out of the race fine, but we’re still up in the air with what’s next,” said Stall.