Updated on 09/17/2011 12:53PM

Laurel: Bronze Abe re-rallies

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Jim McCue
Bronze Abe battles head-to-head almost to the finish line to win the $75,000 What A Summer Stakes at Laurel Park.

Jockey Erick Rodriguez came into the program at Laurel Park mired in a 1-for-44 slump to begin 2004. Rodriguez's bad luck looked as if it might continue when Bronze Abe won a pace duel with Bamba in the featured What a Summer Stakes only to give up the lead at top of the stretch.

Neither Rodriguez nor his mount gave up, however. Bronze Abe ($5.80) re-rallied and surged past Bamba in the final furlong to get up by a half-length in the $73,500 stakes for filly and mare sprinters. She covered six furlongs in 1:10.53.

Gazillion, the even-money favorite after winning the last three times she raced at Laurel, failed to fire in the stretch and finished third.

"Erick fits this filly perfectly," said winning trainer Bud Delp. "He's in a little bit of a slump right now and I told him 'Don't worry, Bronze Abe doesn't know that.' He rode her just like we talked about."

In his nine mounts aboard the 5-year-old Bronze Abe, Rodriguez, 23, has won four times, including last spring's Skipat at Pimlico.

Delp said he will probably nominate Bronze Abe to the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie on Feb. 14 and see how tough the stakes comes up.