TORONTO, September 17, 2020 – Seven first-year stars take their talents to the E.P. Taylor Turf Course in Sunday’s Grade 1 $250,000 Summer Stakes, part of a sensational stakes-stacked weekend at Woodbine.
The one-mile Summer Stakes is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, “Win and You’re In” event. Up for grabs is a fees-paid date in the one-mile Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (accompanied by a $1 million purse), to be run on November 6 at Keeneland.
Mark Casse will send out a pair of hopefuls, Dolder Grand and Gretzky the Great, in the Summer, a race he has won on three occasions.
The Hall of Fame conditioner netted the natural hat trick from 2013-15, starting with My Conquestadory, followed by Conquest Typhoon and Conquest Daddyo.
Dolder Grand, a Kentucky-bred son of Candy Ride, finished third in his career bow on August 23 at Woodbine.
With Patrick Husbands in the irons, the D J Stable silk-bearer was bumped in the stretch, but rallied to secure the show spot in the seven-furlong race run over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course.
“He reminds me a bit of War of Will,” said Casse, in referencing his Ricoh Woodbine Mile starter and Preakness champ. “They paid a lot of money [$800,000] for him – D J Stable – and he’s trained very well. I was a little disappointed in his first start, but I can remember War of Will doing the exact same thing. When I ran War of Will first time out, I didn’t think he’d get beat and he finished third, beaten like five lengths.”
Casse liked the effort shown by the dark bay, bred by Dell Ridge Farm.
“This horse ran well in that he never gave up. I think he’s going to improve big time off his maiden race. He’s also trained extremely well. I expect him to be a factor in the Summer.”
After a runner-up effort in his first career start on July 12, Gretzky the Great could net a natural hat trick of his own with a win on Saturday.
Owned by Gary Barber and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, the son of Nyquist, bred by Anderson Farms Ontario, broke his maiden via a 4 ¼-length victory on August 2. The bay colt followed it up with a gutsy neck score in the Soaring Free Stakes, traveling 6 ½ panels on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course on August 23.
Casse’s hoping for another great one this weekend.
“He’s been great so far. He’s come to play each time and he’s run hard. He’s also training well.”
American Monarch, a two-year-old son of American Pharoah, will look to build off a sharp debut on August 8 at Saratoga.
The Bill Mott trainee, bred and owned by Mike Rutherford, posted a half-length win in a 1 1/16 mile turf engagement contested over “firm” going.
Mott is seeking his third Summer score after taking the 2007 running with Prussian and the 2016 edition with Good Samaritan.
A dark bay son of Society’s Chairman, Download uploaded a win to his stat sheet after a maiden-breaking score on August 23.
In his third career start, the Ontario-bred colt pulled off the 14-1 upset at seven panels over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course.
Trainer Michael De Paulo co-owns with Zilli Racing Stables, Le Amici Racing Stable and Samotowka Stables.
Heat of the Night, a gelded son of Summer Front, delivered an 11-1 win in his career bow on September 3 at Gulfstream.
Trained by Timothy Hamm, the Kentucky-bred, owned by Blazing Meadows Farms and Fred Hertich, took the one-mile turf race by one length.
The Summer marks the Canadian debut for Heat of the Night.
Victoria Stakes champ Ready to Repeat is 2-1-1 from four starts.
Trained by Gail Cox, who co-owns the Kentucky-bred gelding with John Menary, Michael Ambler and Windways Farm, the bay was third in his most recent test, the Soaring Free Stakes on August 23 at Woodbine.
Ready to Repeat finished second in his career bow on June 14 before going on to win his next two starts.
Secret Potion just missed in his debut, losing by a half-length in the 1 1/16-mile turf race at Saratoga on August 8.
Owned by Peter Brant, Robert LaPenta and Woodford Racing, the son of Into Mischief was bred in Kentucky by Dixiana Farms.
Last year, Decorated Invader, under Irad Ortiz Jr., won the Summer in a time of 1:36.34.
The Summer (Race 7) and Natalma Stakes (Race 9) will be broadcast live on TSN2 from 4-6 p.m. ET.
First race post time on Sunday is set for 1:10 p.m. Fans can wager on all the action via HPIbet.com.
FIELD FOR THE SUMMER STAKES
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Download – Daisuke Fukumoto – Michael De Paulo
2 – Secret Potion – Rafael Hernandez – Chad Brown
3 – Ready to Repeat – Luis Contreras – Gail Cox
4 – Gretzky the Great – Kazushi Kimura – Mark Casse
5 – American Monarch – Justin Stein – Bill Mott
6 – Heat of the Night – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Timothy Hamm
7 – Dolder Grand – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse
Gretzky the Great and jockey Kazushi Kimura winning the $100,000 Soaring Free Stakes on August 23 at Woodbine Racetrack. (Michael Burns Photo)