08/16/2008 11:00PM

Summer Patriot clearly best in John's Call


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Summer Patriot continued his development into what trainer Barclay Tagg thinks could be a top-flight turf marathoner with a devastatingly easy 7 3/4-length victory in Sunday's $82,000 John's Call Stakes at Saratoga.

Loping along in the back of the pack for the first half-mile under Eibar Coa, Summer Patriot gradually made his way into contention down the backside. He made a four-wide sweep around the turn to take the lead approaching the quarter pole, then galloped home an easy winner. Taconeo rallied for second by two lengths over Codeword. Just as Well, the 2-1 favorite, finished last.

It was the third win from his last four starts for Summer Patriot, a son of Unbridled's Song owned by Anne D.W. Paulson. He covered the 1 5/8 miles over good turf in 2:42.50 and returned $8.20 as the second choice.

"It sounds like hindsight but I had no doubts that he should win the race," Tagg said afterward. "Anything can happen and you can be wrong very easily, but I felt that he would win the race and win it like that. I would have been happy with a nose, but I was very happy that he did it so easily."

Coa said he didn't intend to move as early as he did, but the early pace was so slow that he let the horse run a little bit entering the clubhouse turn. Coa said the horse dragged him to the lead at the quarter pole.

"I was'’t pushing at all, I just let him be," Coa said. "He's got such a beautiful stride and the distance he just takes it so well he just went by every horse by the quarter pole. It's not that I planned to go by them at that point, but he was just that much the best today."

Tagg said he would likely point Summer Patriot to the Grade 1, $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont Park on Sept. 27.