06/08/2005 11:00PM

Summerly out of Dogwood

With Summerly out, Atlas Valley (left) looks good in Dogwood.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Trainer Carl Nafzger is excited about what the future may hold for Atlas Valley. And as long as Summerly isn't part of that immediate future, Nafzger is content.

With Summerly not entered, figures as one of the favorites Saturday in the $150,000 Dogwood Breeders' Cup, a Grade 3 race in which Summerly had been scheduled to make her first start since her two-length victory in the May 6 Kentucky Oaks.

However, until Summerly and the rest of her Barn 38 stablemates at Churchill Downs clear their latest round of tests for the equine herpes virus, trainer Steve Asmussen said he "didn't want to have to do any explaining" in case more tests came back positive Friday from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

Without Summerly, a field of nine 3-year-old fillies will run in the Dogwood. Asked whether he hopes to run Summerly next in the June 25 Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont, Asmussen responded: "Let's just see if we can get out of the quarantine first."

Like Summerly, Atlas Valley also made her last start May 6 at Churchill, and although her victory was not as noteworthy as what occurred in the Oaks, her race was impressive nonetheless. After waiting in mid-pack in the finale of a 12-race Oaks card, an entry-level allowance route, Atlas Valley, ridden by Javier Castellano, made an eye-catching run to sweep past her rivals and proceed to a flashy 2 3/4-length score.

"She did run awful well Oaks night," said Nafzger. "She wants to be a good filly. How far she can take us, I don't know. She's honest, and she's doing good right now, so I'm looking for her to give us a good race Saturday."

Larry Melancon picks up the mount on Atlas Valley, a Capote filly owned by a four-way partnership. In her only prior stakes try, Atlas Valley finished seventh in the March 19 Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs, but, as Nafzger said, "she's really improved since then." Indeed, in her lone in-between start, Atlas Valley ran second in an April 16 Keeneland allowance to Spun Sugar, the Todd Pletcher-trained filly who ultimately won the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico in dominating fashion.

Besides Atlas Valley, a well-balanced field for the 1 1/16-mile Dogwood also includes a pair of fillies looking to recapture their sterling 2-year-old form. also is looking for her first victory since she captured the Arlington-Washington Lassie in just her second career start last September.

* Jockey Mark Guidry was scheduled to meet with the Churchill stewards Friday to review videotape of his ride aboard Goodoldsouthernboy in the third race Wednesday. Goodoldsouthernboy won by nearly four lengths but was disqualified and placed second for interfering with Kichwa Tembo in the stretch.

* The highly regarded maiden Patriot Act is on the comeback trail. Trained by Neil Howard, Patriot Act was second last fall in the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland. He had his first breeze since returning from knee surgery when he went three furlongs Monday in 38.80 seconds. Howard said Patriot Act probably will make his return at Saratoga.