10/17/2006 11:00PM

Summerly may be shut out of '06 goal


Summerly was kept in training this year with the express purpose of running in the Breeders' Cup Distaff on Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs. The idea made sense considering Summerly won the 2005 Kentucky Oaks over that track.

But with the Breeders' Cup less than three weeks away and with the Distaff expected to oversubscribe for the first time since 1992, there could be some question whether Summerly makes it into the field for the $2 million Distaff.

As of Wednesday, Daily Racing Form had the connections of 15 fillies and mares pointing to the Distaff with two more - Promenade Girl and Soul Search - still under consideration. All Breeders' Cup fields are limited to 14 runners. If more than 14 are pre-entered, Breeders' Cup employs a two-part selection system to determine the field. The first seven runners earn automatic berths based on points earned in American graded stakes. Summerly would not qualify on that basis.

A panel of racing directors and secretaries select the next seven runners. There are no set criteria to guide that panel, but Summerly - with only a restricted stakes win from three starts to her credit this year - is no lock to be selected.

Scott Blasi, the trainer of Summerly, certainly hopes that's not the case. Despite Summerly's less-than-inspiring campaign, Blasi believes she is headed for a top effort.

"All of her races up to this point have been to try to get her back to the level of where she's competitive with these horses," Blasi said. "I think we're where we want to be as far as fitness-wise. Now she needs to run her race, which I think she's capable of."

Summerly ended her 3-year-old season last year by running second in the Coaching Club American Oaks. She didn't make it back to the races until Aug. 4 at Saratoga, when she won the restricted Ashado Stakes by one length. In her two subsequent starts, Summerly finished last in the Ruffian and seventh of nine in the Spinster at Keeneland.

"I liked where she was at as far as her first win at Saratoga," Blasi said. "Off such a long layoff she was a little body sore, and I don't think she was up to the level of those [Ruffian] horses going one turn with that kind of pace scenario. I think the race at Keeneland is better than it looks, considering she's a neck apart from Happy Ticket and Spun Sugar, who have been awful consistent all year long. She's doing very well, and I feel she deserves a shot in there."

o Of the 15 considered definite to pre-enter, 14 are Grade 1 winners. They are: Asi Siempre, Balletto, Bushfire, Fleet Indian, Happy Ticket, Healthy Addiction, Hollywood Story, Lemons Forever, Pine Island, Pool Land, Round Pond, Spun Sugar, Sharp Lisa, and Summerly. Baghdaria, a multiple Grade 3 winner, is also expected.

o With Edgar Prado electing to retain the mount on Round Pond, the trainers of Balletto and Bushfire have secured other riders. Corey Nakatani will ride Balletto. Nakatani was aboard for Balletto's last win, the Grade 1 Frizette in 2004. Alex Solis, who rode Bushfire to victory in the Grade 1 Acorn, will ride her in the Distaff.