05/06/2005 12:00AM

Summerly turns the tables

Summerly (5), ridden by Jerry Bailey, begins to draw away from heavy favorite Sis City during the stretch run of the 131st Kentucky Oaks.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Rarely has revenge been so sweet. Nearly a month before the 131st was run Friday at Churchill Downs, trainer Steve Asmussen had been greatly humbled by a filly he had lost by way of the claim box, Sis City, who crushed an Ashland Stakes field that included the Asmussen-trained Summerly.

But the Grade 1 Oaks produced a dramatically different result when Summerly, ridden by Jerry Bailey, turned back heavily favored Sis City at the eighth pole, then drew clear to a two-length triumph.

In the Gold rallied to finish second, another 1 3/4 lengths ahead of a late-running longshot, Gallant Secret, who had another three-quarters of a length on Sis City.

Summerly, owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds, returned $11.20 as second choice in a field of seven 3-year-old fillies. After breezing through three victories in New Orleans last winter, Summerly was beaten 19 lengths by Sis City in the April 9 Ashland at Keeneland. Asmussen had trained Sis City for her first three starts, but lost her for $50,000 in August, after which the filly had won four stakes.

Asmussen said he "couldn't be happier" than he was with his first Oaks victory.

"This is the filly that we've run all winter," he said. "At Keeneland, the second jump, I knew we were in trouble. The only thing that could get us over the Ashland was a win today. Obviously we're over it."

Before an Oaks-record crowd of 111,243, and amid ideal weather, Summerly broke sharply to make the early lead, followed closely on the inside by Sis City, the 3-5 favorite. Into the first turn, Edgar Prado eased Sis City to the outside for a clear run, and the two fillies raced alongside each other to upper stretch.

Coming to the eighth pole, Summerly drew clear, and Bailey gave a few emotional shakes of his whip as he crossed the finish line.

"It was kind of unexpected to be on the lead," said Bailey. "I slowed the pace down as best I could, and I felt like I really had the advantage from then on."

Sis City, said Prado, "never grabbed the bit. She handled [Keeneland] better than this one. Going to the backside, I tried to get in the clear so that it might give her a better feeling, but that didn't help."

Richard Dutrow Jr., trainer of Sis City, said, "I'm not disappointed the way the race unfolded - just the outcome."

After Sis City, the order of finish was completed by Memorette, Runway Model, and Rugula. Dance Away Capote and Aspen Tree were early scratches.

Victory in the $554,400 Oaks was the third for Bailey, who previously won in 1993 with Dispute and 2001 with Flute.

Summerly, by Summer Squall, was bred in Kentucky by Tom VanMeter and Michael Lowenbaum. She now has won 5 of 8 career starts and has earned $709,763.

In the Gold, a 6-1 shot, completed a $2 exacta worth $60.40. Gallant Secret, a 43-1 shot, ended a $2 trifecta that paid $1,301.60.

Respective $2 win payoffs for Summerly in Oaks Future Wager Pools 1, 2, and 3 were $31.80, $15, and $28.40.