06/16/2007 12:00AM

Summer Doldrums by a head in Turf Cup


Summer Doldrums, a Triple Crown contender early in the spring, has found renewed life on the grass.

In a thrilling finish, Summer Doldrums with Jose Lezcano aboard, edged Strike a Deal Saturday to capture the $750,000 Colonial Turf Cup for 3-year-olds at Colonial Downs.

Summer Doldrums ($9.60) moved into Triple Crown consideration with an impressive front-running win in the Whirlaway Stakes at Aqueduct in February, but he did not move forward off that effort, running third in the Gotham Stakes and fourth in the Wood Memorial.

After the Wood, trainer Rick Violette switched the colt to the turf for an overnight stakes at Belmont Park, the Straight Deal, which turned into the key race for the Turf Cup. Strike a Deal nosed Summer Doldrums that afternoon; Summer Doldrums turned the tables by a head with the big money on the line in Virginia.

Summer Doldrums and Strike a Deal emerged together from the pack at the top of the lane and battled head-to-head through the final sixteenth of a mile. The time was 1:55.68 for the 1o3/16 miles on firm turf.

This was the third running of the Colonial Turf Cup, a race created to start the Grand Slam of Grass. Both previous winners developed into top-level stakes winners, English Channel in 2005 and Showing Up last year.

Summer Doldrums is now eligible for the $2 million bonus for the four-race sweep. To earn the Grand Slam, he must win in the $1 million Virginia Derby on July 21, the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes on Aug. 11, and the Breeders' Cup Turf on Oct. 27.

Silver Charades upsets All Along

Silver Charades ($16.40) pulled off an upset in the Grade 3, $197,000 All Along Breeders' Cup Stakes for fillies and mares.

She earned her second straight win since transferring from trainer Christophe Clement to Marty Wolfson.

In the wide-open scramble to the wire, Silver Charades and Jose Valdivia Jr. got up by 1 1/2 lengths over Humoristic with Bridge Game third. The time was 1:49.62 for the 1 1/8 miles.