04/24/2010 12:00AM

Summer Movie bigger, better than last year


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - It was not until Art Sherman put the saddle on Summer Movie before Friday evening's fifth race at Hollywood Park that he realized how much the colt had grown since his 2-year-old season last year.

"You don't realize it until you see them under tack," he said.

About 15 minutes later, Sherman saw yet another developing side of Summer Movie. Making his first start since late November, Summer Movie won an optional claimer over a mile on turf by three lengths, leaving the trainer delightfully stunned.

"It was an unbelievably good race for his first time back," he said.

Ridden by Tyler Baze, Summer Movie ($18.40) stalked the pace three wide, took the lead on the turn and scooted clear when challenged in early stretch, finishing in 1:35.37. Baze later told Sherman that he needed to move a little sooner than expected, fearing he was taking too strong of a hold of Summer Movie.

"He said he had to move a little too quick," Sherman said. "He was worried about the saddle slipping. He had such a hold on him."

Owned by George Krikorian, Summer Movie was sidelined last fall with a sore ankle. The owner and trainer are considering the Affirmed Handicap on the synthetic main track on June 19 or the Will Rogers Handicap on turf a day later for Summer Movie.

"He's trained so good on the dirt, too," Sherman said. "I don't think the surfaces will make a difference. We've got a little time yet.

"It's nice to have a fresh 3-year-old for these races. If you duck these real good horses, you can wind up down the line maybe winning a stakes."