08/03/2006 11:00PM

Summerly comes back good as new

Brendan Benson / NYRA
Summerly, racing for the first time since last summer, scores a one-length victory under Shaun Bridgmohan in Friday's Ashado Stakes. She may run next in the Aug. 25 Personal Ensign.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - After being sidelined a year due to a splint bone injury and having her comeback postponed twice earlier this week, Grade 1 winner Summerly couldn't wait to get back racing again.

Summerly was so eager to finally get a chance to compete she practically beat the gate when it opened for Friday's $70,000 , easily outbreaking her field and getting enough of a head start on her chief rival, Yolanda B. Too, to post a length victory in the 1 1/8-mile overnight stakes. The Ashado had been postponed 48 hours following the cancellation of Wednesday's card due to excessive heat.

Summerly, a 4-year-old daughter of Summer Squall, had not started since finishing second in the 2005 Coaching Club American Oaks. She injured her splint bone here last summer while preparing for the Grade 1 Alabama.

Currently under the care of Scott Blasi following the suspension earlier this summer of trainer Steve Asmussen, Summerly had been training well for her return. She was also entered and scratched from last Sunday's Grade 1 Go for Wand.

Summerly used the advantage she secured at the start of the Ashado to quickly assume command under jockey Shaun Bridgmohan. Summerly set relatively soft fractions over a racetrack upgraded from sloppy to good, with Yolanda B. Too forcing the issue from the outset. Summerly repulsed a bid from Yolanda B. Too entering the stretch, then remained clear under strong handling at the end. In the Gold, who finished second behind Summerly in the 2005 Kentucky Oaks, was a distant third following a slow start.

"She's been away a long time and we're just lucky to have her back," said Blasi. "She trained sharply, and we thought we had her very fit coming into the race. I told Shaun to ride her within herself and he did a wonderful job."

Blasi said the Grade 1 Personal Ensign on Aug. 25 is an option for Summerly's next start.

"We'll evaluate how she comes out of the race physically before making a decision," said Blasi. "Everything is under consideration. We have a lot of options now."

Trainer Rick Violette said he may also point Yolanda B. Too to the 1 1/4-mile Personal Ensign, or perhaps the Ballerina at seven furlongs two days later.

Cab Calloway gains two horses

Like the Ashado, Sunday's $150,000 Cab Calloway Stakes for 3-year-old New York-breds on the turf was postponed due to Wednesday's cancellation. The race originally lured a field of eight but swelled to 10 entrants when redrawn Friday.

Metro Meteor has won his first two starts this season, both on grass, and should vie for favoritism in the nine-furlong Cab Calloway with Running Dog.

Metro Meteor, a gelded son of City Zip, is trained by Linda Rice.

"Obviously I'd be a little happier if the race were a flat mile and he didn't have to carry quite as much weight, but he's doing very well and I don't think the extra distance will prove to be a hurdle he cannot handle," said Rice.

Good start for Gomez

Jockey Garrett Gomez, who is spending his first full summer riding at Saratoga, got off to a quick start by winning six races during the opening week of the meet, including a victory aboard the 3-year-old filly Magnificent Song for trainer Todd Pletcher in the Lake George Stakes.

"It's always important to get off to a good start no matter where you ride, but it's especially important at a meet like this," Gomez said. "Winning a stakes right off the bat for Todd really helped, and my agent [Ron Anderson] has done a great job getting us going right off the bat. I'm also enjoying just being here so far and being able to take in the whole area with my family."

Gomez, 34, is coming off his finest year, when he finished fifth in the country with total purse earnings of more than $14 million. His 2005 season included Breeders' Cup victories aboard Stevie Wonderboy and Artie Schiller.

Gomez secured the services of Anderson earlier this year - after the agent became available following the retirement of Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey - and began riding regularly in New York for the first time in May. Gomez has spent five of the last seven summers at Del Mar and says comparing Saratoga to Del Mar is like night and day.

"The two tracks both offer headliner meets, but everything about the two places is completely different," said Gomez. "You can't compare them at all. At Del Mar it's all about the ocean, there's not a tree in sight, it never rains and never gets humid. Saratoga is more like racing at Keeneland. A throwback to the old days."

Complete physical for Oonagh Maccool

Pletcher reported Friday that he has sent Oonagh Maccool to Cornell University to undergo a nuclear scintigraphy, or bone scan, following her distant sixth-place finish as the 3-2 favorite in the Go for Wand.

"Her bloodwork came back negative, but we decided to send her for what amounts to a complete physical just to check her out," said Pletcher.

Meanwhile Pletcher said he will likely point Spun Sugar, who outgamed Balletto to win the Go for Wand, for the Grade 1 Spinster going 1 1/8 miles at Keeneland on Oct. 8.

Fundraiser for Baeza

A fundraiser will be held Sunday evening at the Saratoga Hotel for retired Hall of Fame jockey Braulio Baeza, who has amassed thousands of dollars in legal fees as the result of having been indicted by the state for allegedly allowing riders to falsify their riding weights.

Baeza, then NYRA's assistant clerk of scales, was indicted along with Mario Sclafani, then clerk of scales, in September 2005. Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, the front-runner for this fall's New York gubernatorial election, refiled those charges in June.

The fundraiser will run from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m., with an open bar and hors d'oeuvres for the first hour and a cash bar thereafter. There will a silent auction of racing memorabilia that begins at 7:45. Among the items up for auction are the silver trophy from the 1967 Whitney Handicap won by Stupendous, an original 1966 Horse of the Year plaque for Buckpasser, and several signed paintings and photos.

* Eclipse Award-winning writer Bill Heller has launched a magazine called New York Thoroughbred Life. The bi-monthly periodical includes in-depth features celebrating the horses and people who make up New York's racing and breeding industry. Each issue costs $5.95.

- additional reporting by David Grening