01/18/2003 12:00AM

Xtra Heat romps

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Laurel Park's What a Summer Stakes on Saturday was billed in advance as a public workout for Xtra Heat, the Eclipse Award winner as best 3-year-old filly in 2001, and it played out that way.

Xtra Heat ($2.40) broke sharply under rider Rick Wilson in the six-furlong event, was confidently ridden throughout, and her rider never needed his whip. She led through fractions of 23.18 and seconds, completing the distance in 1:09.43. Gazillion finished second, 2 3/4 lengths behind the winner, and Bernie's Gold finished third in the six-horse field.

Winning trainer John Salzman said Xtra Heat will likely return in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Laurel Park on Feb. 15.

Xtra Heat had $485,234 of the $502,862 show pool wagered on her, resulting in a $107,030 minus pool. She paid $2.10 to show.