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Summer Soiree romps in Bourbonette Oaks
Wahoo Partners LLC & Bret and Brereton C. Jones' SUMMER SOIREE (War Front) took the lead when the gates opened on Saturday's $100,000 Bourbonette Oaks (G3) at Turfway Park and never looked back en route to a dominating 10 3/4-length victory under Gabriel Saez. The bay filly was never challenged in the one-mile Polytrack test, posting splits of :24 4/5, :48 2/5, 1:12 3/5 and 1:25 2/5 before stopping the clock in 1:38 3/5 for trainer Larry Jones.
"I can't tell you that much," Saez admitted. "She did everything on her own. She broke sharp. I took a little bit of a hold and tried to get her to relax. She was doing everything on her own. I just asked her the last 250 yards."
This was Summer Soiree's second dominating performance for Jones, and she's now likely to head straight to the May 6 Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs off this performance.
"This filly has a nice turn of foot," Jones said. "Once I brought her up here and let her get over the track, I knew it was the right decision to come. I'll check with Brereton (Jones) and Bret (Jones), but we may go straight to the Kentucky Oaks off of this. She runs very well with time between starts and 41 days should be a good time."
Summer Soiree was the clear 3-2 favorite in the 10-filly field and returned $5, $3.80 and $3 for her first stakes victory. Third in the Blue Hen S. at Delaware Park in October, she rounded out her juvenile season with a third against optional claiming rivals at that same venue. Jones took back training duties from his wife, Cindy, over the winter, and readied Summer Soiree for her three-year-old bow on January 30. The bay miss pulled clear by 9 3/4 lengths in that Oaklawn Park allowance while going 1 1/16 miles, and now boasts an 8-3-0-3, $121,680, career record.
Harlan's Ruby (Harlan's Holiday), runner-up in last year's Alcibiades S. (G1) at Keeneland, entered the Bourbonette Oaks off a nice course and distance win in the Valdale S. on February 26. She gradually made up ground while tracking the pace four wide, and crossed under the wire best of the rest.
"We had a great trip," jockey Perry Ouzts said. "We just ran into a monster. When we got toward the top of the stretch I thought I had an outside chance, but that other horse was just much the best. Overall I'm happy with the effort."
It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to third-placer Suave Voir Faire (Suave), who was followed under the wire by Lilacs and Lace (Flower Alley), Kitten's Dance (Kitten's Joy), Marion Ravenwood (A.P. Indy), Angelica Zapata (Sharp Humor), Readybdancing (More Than Ready), Touch Screen (Bandini) and Proud House (Proud Citizen). Jelly Cable (Sky Mesa) was scratched.
"I was concerned about the mile maybe being a little bit short for her. But she ran well," trainer: D. M. "Speedy" Smithwick Jr. said of Suave Voir Faire. "I wish there'd been a little bit more pace, but there was a pretty good pace, though, for here. We had her down at Fair Grounds and she got sick and missed a bit of time. She should come (forward) from this race, I think.
"I'm not sure where we'll go next. I'll talk it over with the owners and see who's going to run where."
The Kentucky-bred Summer Soiree was consigned twice by breeders Brereton and Bret Jones, first RNAing for $70,000 as a Keeneland November weanling, then for $72,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling. She is the first stakes scorer out of the winning Mazel Tov (Mazel Trick), who is also responsible for the unraced juvenile colt Very Lucky (Istan). Mazel Tov is herself a half-sister to dual Grade 3 victress Mil Kilates (Gold Alert), who was third in the 1997 Ruffian H. (G1).
This is the same female family as Peruvian champion and Group 1 winner India Brava (Fast Gold); Indian Horse of the Year Running Flame (Ind) (Steinbeck); and, most notably, back-to-back Eclipse Award heroine Shuvee (Nashua), who beat the boys in consecutive runnings of the Jockey Club Gold Cup.