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Gomez to Ride Summer Applause in Oaks

Gillian Campbell, R Group Management Ltd. and Greenwood Lodge Farm’s Summer Applause, narrowly defeated by Believe You Can in the Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) on March 31, breezed a bullet five furlongs in :59.60 on Friday morning at Churchill Downs for trainer Bret Calhoun to continue her preparations for the May 4 Kentucky Oaks.


Working under jockey Miguel Mena, Summer Applause recorded fractions of :12.20, :23.60, :35.40 and :47.60 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.80 and seven furlongs in 1:27.20.


“She couldn’t have worked any better,” assistant trainer Dennis “Peaches” Geier said. “She was very relaxed and worked really well.”


After the move, her connections announced Summer Applause would have a new rider on Oaks Day.


A 3-year-old daughter of Harlan’s Holiday, Summer Applause had a record of 2-2-0 in four starts at the Fair Grounds meet, including a victory in the Rachel Alexandra (GIII) in February. Summer Applause was ridden by Robby Albarado in all four of those starts, but Garret Gomez will be in the saddle for the Kentucky Oaks.


Gomez fractured his left heel when he was thrown from his mount in the paddock at Santa Anita on Jan. 8 and did not return to full-time action until March 22.


“When he’s healthy he’s one of the top-two riders in the country,” Geier said.


Gomez won the 2007 Kentucky Oaks aboard Rags to Riches.


Bred in Kentucky by Greenwood Lodge Farm Inc., Summer Applause has a career record of 3-2-0 from six starts and earnings of $302,906. Her lone off-the-board finish came in her career debut at Woodbine while she was under the care of trainer Josie Carroll.


“We’re starting to get excited,” Geier said. “She has a legitimate chance to win.”


Geier said Summer Applause will have her final work prior to the Oaks next Friday.



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