Despite drifting across the track down the stretch, even-money favourite Summer Sunday persevered in the featured $125,000 Fury Stakes for Canadian-foaled three-year-old fillies on Sunday afternoon at Woodbine Racetrack.
Teaming up with jockey Rafael Hernandez, Summer Sunday broke well from post five and clocked an opening quarter-mile in :23.37 before coming under pressure from Queen’s Fate, who gained a short lead at the half in :45.82. Glamanation then rallied three-wide into contention entering the final turn of the seven-furlong sprint, but Summer Sunday forged on despite veering towards the grandstand side to score in 1:24.17. Glamanation ducked inside through the stretch and raced down the middle of the track to finish second, one and three-quarter lengths behind the winner, with the rail-skimming Avie’s Mineshaft a neck back in third.
“She just broke right on top and there was no way I was going to take her back,” said Hernandez, who rode his second stakes winner of the meet. “She was doing her job and you can see how she stuck it out, how wide she goes, still winning. If she goes straight, we should have won easy. She made me work hard.”
Not only did Summer Sunday overcome steering issues to notch the third stakes win of her career, but she managed to do so carrying a field-high 124 pounds.
“It was a little nerve-wrecking for a minute, but she came through finally and that was great,” said William Scott, who co-owns the Silent Name-Dancing Allstar filly with his wife Anne. “I was a little nervous about the weight – 124 pounds is a lot of weight this time of year in my estimate – but she handled it with ease.”
Summer Sunday remains undefeated over Woodbine’s all-weather track with three prior victories including the Nandi and Muskoka Stakes last season. Bred in Ontario by Trinity West Stables, the filly is four-for-five with her only loss in the Grade 3 Beaumont on Keeneland’s dirt course three weeks ago.
“She had trained okay over the dirt. We had no other real options. We really felt we had her away for the winter for a reason to get one start in her anyway,” said trainer Stuart Simon of Summer Sunday’s sophomore debut. “So we thought we’d give it a try, but it just wasn’t her preferred surface and it was a very tough bunch too. When you face those kinds of horses, you’ve got to have everything to your liking.”
As for Sunday’s drifting issue, Simon said, “I have a feeling I know why and we’ll get it addressed.”
Summer Sunday paid $4.20, $2.60 and $2.10. She combined with Glamanation ($4.50, $2.70) for a 5-4 exacta worth $22. A $1 trifecta of 5-4-1 (Avie’s Mineshaft, $2.20) paid $15.55 and a $1 superfecta of 5-4-1-3 (Jamaica Me Home) returned $106.50. Queen’s Fate and career-debuting Luvutothemoonnback completed the field.
All six fillies are eligible to the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser (1-1/8 miles), set for June 9.
Woodbine adds Fridays to its live Thoroughbred racing schedule beginning next week (Friday, May 4). First race post time Friday through Sunday is 1 p.m.