It was a super spring Saturday for Summer Sunday as the four-year-old filly added the $100,000 Ballade Stakes to her resume in her Woodbine comeback.
With her Ontario Sires Stakes romp in the six-furlong distaff feature, the Silent Name-Dancing Allstar filly is now a five-time winner in as many starts over the Woodbine course for trainer Stuart Simon and owners Anne and William Scott.
Back racing at Woodbine for the first time since winning last year’s Fury Stakes in late-April, Summer Sunday pressed the pace through a :22.89 quarter before taking over command from early leader Without a Doubt approaching the half-mile mark in :45.65. She then rebuffed the challenge of defending Ballade Stakes champion Scotty’s Model down the stretch to score by 2-1/4 lengths in 1:08.57.
“We’ve been working in the morning right beside other horses, teaching her how to relax and she showed it today,” said winning jockey Rafael Hernandez. “She broke good and we let the other horse set the pace. We just sat right next to her like we do in the morning and I was loaded at the three-eighths. When it was time to go, I just let her go and she just did her thing.”
Summer Sunday paid $7.80 to win as the slight 5-2 second choice to Silent Sonet, who stalked the pace and edged out Scotty’s Model by a neck to take second-place honours.
Summer Sunday previously earned stakes wins in the Nandi and Muskoka during a perfect three-race juvenile campaign at Woodbine. The promising miss, whose sophomore season was cut short after the Fury, returned to action last month at Keeneland before adding to her perfect local record today.
“She had a lower body injury that kept her out as we were preparing for the Oaks,” said Simon, explaining the layoff. “It was disappointing. The vets thought we should give her two to three months and with Mr. and Mrs. Scott’s patience, we said let’s give her six months and really make sure and I am glad we did. We have our horse back and she’s just been a real gift.
“I said she’s never been better and I think she proved me right now. She’s just a dream because she’ll run on, and she’ll run on different surfaces too so it’s pretty nice.”
Bred in Ontario by Trinity West Stables, Summer Sunday is now five-for-seven lifetime with earnings soaring over the $300,000 mark.
Live Thoroughbred racing continues on Sunday with this year’s $125,000 Fury Stakes headlining a fillies and mares only racing program at Woodbine to celebrate Mother’s Day. Guests at the racetrack on Sunday will receive 30 per cent off select Queen’s Plate tickets by visiting Guest Experience Central.