07/22/2012 2:41PM

Saratoga: Summer Front proves superiority in Duluth Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Ramon Dominguez guides Summer Front to an easy victory in the Duluth Stakes.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Christophe Clement passed on the opportunity for a big payday in lieu of pretty much a sure one this weekend with his 3-year-old turf specialist Summer Front. who rallied to a popular two-length victory over Lockout in Sunday’s $100,000 Duluth Stakes at Saratoga.

Summer Front was also entered in Saturday’s $600,000 Virginia Derby. But the prospect of less-than-firm ground and the 1 1/4-mile distance of that race prompted Clement to take the conservative route and keep War Front home for the weekend.

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With jockey Ramon Dominguez putting up a confident ride, Summer Front rated in the middle of the field during the early stages of the one-mile Duluth. Summer Front commenced his rally leaving the backstretch, continued wide into the stretch and easily surged by the overmatched leaders at midstretch to win going away.

Lockout outfinished the pace-pressing Spring to the Sky by a neck to finish second in the field of eight 3-year-olds.
Summet Front completed the distance in 1:34.90 over a firm course and returned a mere $2.90.

“There was a slow pace and it was amazing confidence from Ramon,” said Clement. “Ramon knows him well and does not make many mistakes.”

Summer Front, a son of War Front owned by Waterford Stable, had defeated a similar field despite traffic issues in the Grade 3 Hill Prince five weeks earlier at Belmont Park.