02/12/2005 1:00AM

Summerly much the best

Louis Hodges Jr.
Summerly, ridden by Donnie Meche, pulls away to a 3 1/4-length victory in the Silverbulletday for her first stakes win.

NEW ORLEANS - Summerly, looking much like a contender for the Kentucky Oaks, easily won the Grade 3, $150,000 on Saturday at Fair Grounds. It was Summerly's first stakes win, but probably not her last.

Summerly ($5) had an outside post position, but she and jockey Donnie Meche secured good position going into the first turn of the 1 1/16-mile Silverbulletday. With Cee's Irish down on the inside, hanging on to a narrow lead over Summerly, the pace was quick. And that did not bother Summerly in the least.

"She's unbelievable the way she runs," Meche said. "I don't ask her for anything leaving the gate, and she puts herself right there. We were going fast, but it doesn't feel like she's going that fast."

The pace, 23.77 seconds for the first quarter-mile, 47.56 for the half, and a swift six furlongs in 1:12.60, took its toll on Cee's Irish midway around the second turn, and when she backed up on the rail, Summerly went into the clear. Enduring Will, the second choice, was making decent progress along the inside, and The Beter Man Can was within striking distance on the outside, but Eyes on Eddy, rallying four wide, was the horse turning in a big move. She went from fifth to fourth, to second, with her sights set on Summerly. And not for a second did her rider, James Graham, believe he was going to catch Summerly.

"I knew that I didn't have her," Graham said. "She was just up there twitching her ears."

Indeed, when Meche heard Eyes on Eddy coming, he gave Summerly her cue, and the filly had plenty left. She quickly opened up daylight on the one horse with a chance to catch her, and drew away to win by 3 1/4 lengths, covering the distance in 1:43.79.

Eyes on Eddy, who had been fourth in the Tiffany Lass Stakes here a month ago, delivered a vastly improved performance, and held second by more than a length over Enduring Will.

Enduring Will bumped with The Beter Man Can, the Tiffany Lass winner who wound up fourth Saturday, going into the first turn, but the incident had little effect on the outcome

"She's a very exciting filly to have," said Steve Asmussen, who trains Summerly for Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC. "I think the longer she goes, the more effective she's going to be. She was very strong."

The logical next spot for Summerly is the Fair Grounds Oaks, and that is where Summerly, barring the unforeseen, will next race.