06/09/2012 6:51PM

Golden Gate: Summer Hit wires field in Silky Sullivan Stakes

Marcel Langevin/Vassar Photography
Summer Hit, Russel Baze in the saddle, wins the $100,000 Silky Sullivan in his turf and route debut.

ALBANY, Calif. – Summer Hit went to the lead immediately and held off favored Stoney Fleece by a neck to win the $100,000 Silky Sullivan Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday.

Silky Sullivan was known for his whirlwind finishes, but Summer Hill jumped to the lead in the one-mile turf race and raced evenly under Russell Baze, with quarters of 24.21, 24.16, 24.24 and 23.79. He won the Silky Sullivan, which was for California-bred 3-year-olds, in 1:36.40 and paid $6.60. Pepnic, the longest shot in the six-horse field, ran third, 2 1/4 lengths behind Stoney Fleece.

Summer Hit, who ran second against older in the seven-furlong Grey Memo at Hollywood Park on April 28, was making his turf and route debuts in the Silky Sullivan.

“He handled it real good,” said Baze of how the Bertrando gelding took to the turf. “When I asked him, he accelerated really well.

“He’s pretty game when a horse comes to him. When Stoney Fleece got to about a half-length of me, my horse pinned his ears and dug in.”

Stoney Fleece, who won the Alcatraz Stakes here on May 13, couldn’t quite get up Saturday.

“I had a perfect trip,” said his jockey, Kevin Krigger. “No excuses. You can’t take anything away from Russell’s horse. The more I got to him, the more he kept sprinting. The way his horse was running I knew we’d have a hard time getting by him.”

Winning trainer Jerry Hollendorfer purchased Summer Heat privately for himself and John Carver after the gelding had been claimed from a winning his debut.

“I thought he ran huge,” said Hollendorfer of Summer Heat's performance Saturday. “Bertrandos run good on turf, so I thought I would try him.”

The victory, worth $57,000, increased Summer Hit’s career earnings to $100,747 with his fourth victory in six starts.