Big Summer takes the Sunshine Millions F&M Turf (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)
Presented By John Deere, Race Is Part Of CTBA-Sponsored Golden State Series
Mike Willman/Santa Anita Press Box
ARCADIA, Calif.—Two for two down Santa Anita’s unique hillside turf course coming into Saturday’s $200,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Sprint, the Carla Gaines-conditioned Big Summer was all heart in winning her biggest race to date by three quarters of a length. Ridden by Joe Bravo, Big Summer, a 5-year-old mare by Mr. Big, got about 6 ½ furlongs down the hill in 1:13.10.
In-hand from her rail post out of the gate, Big Summer tracked the early leaders to the half mile pole, took the lead and was inside a four-horse spread at the dirt crossing, three sixteenths of a mile out. Although she appeared to stay on her left lead, Big Summer was tenacious on the lead and held off a determined Eddie’s New Dream late.
“Honestly, for her to overcome the one-post took a lot. You don’t really want to overthink a race like that or tell her what to do. I let her find own spot. I didn’t think it would be that close around the turn. She was going comfortably underneath me, and I knew it was going to be tough to beat her from there,” Bravo said.
“She did it all, I’m so proud of her. She made us look good out there.”
Bred by Bob Abrams and Michael Dutko, Big Summer, who is out of the Cee’s Tizzy mare Ultimate Summer, is owned by Robert Abrams, Mitchell Dutko and Michael Paran.
“She’s just got a great finishing kick. She breaks and she settles and when Joe calls on her, she goes, she’s perfect,” Gaines remarked.
“The ownership makes the Cal-Breds special, the people who breed them, thank you.”
Most recently second going six furlongs on synthetic Tapeta at Golden Gate Fields Dec. 10, Big Summer was off at 7-2 and paid $9.80, $4.60 and $2.60.
In winning her first stakes, Big Summer improved her overall mark to 11-4-5-2. With today’s winner’s share of $110,000, she increased her earnings to $315,160.
Ridden by Mario Gutierrez, Eddie’s New Dream was off at 3-1 and paid $4.20 and $2.60 while finishing a half-length in front of favored Alice Marble.
“My horse rode well. We had to wait a little bit for the hole to open, but when we got the hole to open, we had a clear run to the finish line. The winner just never stopped. I was asking her to push, and she was closing. I am just happy she never gave up,” Gutierrez commented.
Off at 6-5, Alice Marble, who was ridden by Flavien Prat, finished three lengths clear of a late closing Tam’s Little Angel and paid $2.10 to show.
Fractions on the race were 22.21, 44.29 and 1:07.17.