07/01/2008 11:00PM

Summer Doldrums back in form


Summer Doldrums looks to have rounded into form just in time for the $175,000 Presque Isle Mile at Presque Isle Downs on Friday. The richest race of the meet so far and second-richest of the season, the Presque Isle Mile drew a field of nine 3-year-olds and up.

Trained by Richard Violette Jr., Summer Doldrums has the benefit of a race over the Presque Isle Tapeta Footings surface, having won an optional claiming race June 8 by 12 lengths.

“We thought we would try a synthetic surface and he passed with flying colors,” Violette said. “If he can repeat that performance Friday night, he will be one of very few horses that have won an open stake over three different surfaces.”

Summer Doldrums won 3 of 9 races in his 3-year-old campaign last year, including the Grade 3 Colonial Turf Cup and the Whirlaway on the dirt at Aqueduct, banking over $680,000. In his first two outings this year, Summer Doldrums ran ninth in an allowance race at Keeneland April 10 and then seventh in the Volponi at Belmont May 11, both on the grass.

“We were disappointed with his first two outs over the grass earlier in the year,” said Violette. “We really couldn’t find an excuse, but he seemed to really wake up over the Presque Isle surface.”

Violette noted that Summer Doldrums is by the popular sire Street Cry, and that if he is able to win on a synthetic surface as well as turf and dirt, it will “really help his stud value if that is the way they decide to go.”

Summer Doldrums will be ridden by Presque Isle’s leading rider, Dale Beckner. Violette and Beckner have won three of the four times they have combined at Presque Isle.

Independent George will be trying to repeat as winner of the Presque Isle Mile, having won the inaugural running Sept. 15 of last year. In his only out this year, Independent George won the $75,000 Sussex, a 1 1/16-mile turf race at Delaware Park on May 28.

Ramon Dominguez retains the mount on Independent George, who is trained by Graham Motion.