08/15/2008 11:00PM

Summer Patriot goes long in stakes


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - It takes a lot to impress trainer Barclay Tagg, but his 4-year-old Summer Patriot did just that winning a first-level allowance race here July 30.

Tagg hopes Summer Patriot continues to impress when he meets seven rivals in Sunday's $80,000 John's Call, the featured event on a 10-race card. The John's Call, carded at 1 5/8 miles on the outer turf course, is the third of five consecutive turf races to end the day.

At 13 furlongs, the John's Call is certainly a test of endurance more than anything, and Tagg believes Summer Patriot showed he has that stamina the way he won his last race going 1 3/8 miles.

On the pace from the outset, Summer Patriot raced outside of Titan of Industry until just outside the eighth pole before spurting away quickly and then being taken in hand late by Eibar Coa while winning by 2o1/2 lengths.

"I thought he really made a big step forward in that race," Tagg, who has six wins at the meet, said Friday. "He was always kind of a little bit lackadaisical before. This time, he seemed like a real warrior, like he was out there to run and really out there to win. It was like his head was really picked up. I liked that."

Coa will ride Summer Patriot from post 6.

As a son of Grade 1 winners A.P. Indy and No Matter What, Just as Well was bred to be a good horse. Soundness issues limited him to just four starts before this, his 5-year-old season. Turned over to Jonathan Sheppard by owner George Strawbridge, Just as Well was given nine months out in a field before returning to the races this year. Just as Well won his first two races and was a troubled third in a second-level allowance here going 1 1/16 miles on Aug. 2.

"He just seems like he'd be well suited for the longer distance," said Sheppard, who won this race in 2004 with Spanish Spur. "He's very amenable to what his rider wants him to do; he'll switch off very nicely and just lope along till he's asked."

Crown Point rarely wins, but his best races have come in marathon turf events. Biggerbadderbetter won a 1 1/2-mile race to begin his 4-year-old campaign and finished fourth in the same race Just as Well exits.

Evening Attire was entered in case this race is run on the main track, in which case it would be carded at 1 3/16 miles.