05/22/2016 8:51PM

Second Summer provides boost to Eurton, Gutierrez by winning Californian

Benoit & Associates
In his first mount since finishing third on favored Nyquist in the Preakness, Mario Gutierrez brings home Second Summer to victory in the Grade 2 Californian.

ARCADIA, Calif. - A one-length win by Second Summer in Sunday’s $200,345 Californian Stakes at Santa Anita came at an ideal time for jockey Mario Gutierrez and trainer Peter Eurton.

For Gutierrez, Second Summer’s win in the Grade 2 Californian Stakes was his first mount since Nyquist finished third in the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on Saturday, ending a chance at a Triple Crown bid.

For Eurton, Second Summer’s win occurred one race after Stellata, a 4-year-old filly from his stable, suffered a pastern injury in a $12,500 claimer at six furlongs and had to be euthanized.

Second Summer won his first stakes, and third consecutive start, in the Californian, a win likely to lead to a start in the $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita on June 25.

Eurton was quick to praise Gutierrez’s decision to guide Second Summer between rivals on the final turn, emerging with the lead in early stretch.

“When I saw him at the three-eighths, he looked like he was loaded when Mario made that move,” Eurton said.

Second Summer led by 1 1/2 lengths with a furlong to go and won by a length over 5-1 Hard Aces.

“They opened up and I had a clean run from behind,” Gutierrez said.

Second Summer ($20.80) ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.29. Lieutenant Colonel, the 4-5 favorite, set the pace and faded in the final furlong to finish third. Point Piper was fourth, followed by Follow Me Crev and El Huerfano.

Second Summer, a 4-year-old gelding by Summer Bird, won optional claimers here in March and at Los Alamitos in April. Second Summer races for the partnership of Sharon Alesia, Ciaglia Racing, Marc Ferrell, and Slam Dunk Racing.

Eurton has said recently that a switch from a turf campaign in 2015 to dirt this year has revived Second Summer’s career. Second Summer has won 4 of 13 starts and $270,610. He has earned $196,400 this year.

 “I can’t say enough about the horse,” Eurton said. “I think it could be a fun summer.”