Updated on 09/16/2011 7:50AM

Looks like Summer time

Summer Colony (right) takes the Pimlico B.C. Distaff by a nose over Dancethruthedawn. She is the Del Cap's highweight and favorite.

STANTON, Del. - Like good news, or good looks, or piles of money, you can never have enough stakes-caliber fillies.

Indeed, when it comes to top-class fillies, one barn at Belmont Park houses an embarrassment of riches. Gold Mover, Raging Fever, With Ability, Mystic Lady, Tap Dance, and Unrestrained are all highly accomplished fillies to varying degrees, and each one is trained by Mark Hennig.

But perhaps the best filly of all is one that Hennig hopes will be in the starting gate Oct. 26 when the Breeders' Cup Distaff is run at Arlington Park. Her name is Summer Colony, and as the topweight and likely favorite, she figures to register another graded victory Sunday when the $600,000 is run for the 65th time.

The Grade 3 Delaware Handicap, a 1 1/4-mile race that will be televised live on ESPN2 on a one-hour broadcast beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern, has been in Hennig's sights for Summer Colony for quite a while "because of the distance and the purse," he said.

Summer Colony, he said, "is my best filly at a route of ground. It'd be great if it can work out that we take her to the Breeders' Cup, but all we're looking at right now is the Delaware Handicap and the Personal Ensign," a Grade 1 race Aug. 23 at Saratoga.

Summer Colony, a 4-year-old Summer Squall filly, started her career inauspiciously, losing her first six starts. A homebred owned by Edward Evans, she quickly developed into a star after winning a maiden race last summer at Saratoga by a mind-boggling 32 3/4 lengths. Since then, she has six wins and two seconds from eight starts.

"I remember before she won the first time, I told somebody, 'This filly is training better than anything in the barn,' " said Hennig. "She really had been showing signs of turning the corner. Things have kind of worked out from there."

Summer Colony will be vanned Sunday morning from Belmont, said Hennig. Remarkably, Sunday will be the first time that Hennig, a longtime racetrack veteran, has ever been at Delaware Park.

Summer Colony, to be ridden by John Velazquez, figures to benefit from the race shape of the Handicap, in which 10 fillies and mares were entered but only nine are expected to start (Hennig said he likely will scratch Unrestrained). The early leader figures to be Mountain Angel, followed by a group of perhaps four fillies: Summer Colony, Pompeii, Quiet Lake and Starrer. The rest of the field are confirmed closers.

"If it sets up the way we hope it does, then she could go on," said Hennig. "She's pretty tactical."

If an upset is to occur, then Starrer may rate the best chance. A California-based filly now trained by John Shirreffs, Starrer is entered off a third-place finish behind Azeri in the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap.

Other logical contenders include two fillies with Hall of Fame jockeys scheduled to ride: Pompeii, with Pat Day named, and Two Item Limit, Jerry Bailey up. Both horses have their own claims to fame, stemming from last year: Pompeii won the Personal Ensign and Two Item Limit captured the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes.

The Delaware Handicap long has been the signature race at this picturesque track. First run in 1937, the race has been won by such female stars as Busanda (1951), Obeah (1969-70), Susan's Girl (1973, 1975), Relaxing (1981), and Urbane (1996).

The 2001 winner was Irving's Baby, an 18-1 shot trained by Todd Pletcher. The filly led gate-to-winner under Ramon Dominguez, who is the runaway leader atop the Delaware jockey standings at the current meet. Dominguez has the mount Sunday on Your Out.

An ontrack crowd of about 15,000 is expected. The weather forecast calls for partly cloudy skies and a high of about 85.

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