- Road to the Kentucky Derby
- Racing & Wagering
Hot Summer heats up Comely
Harold L. Queen's HOT SUMMER (Malibu Moon) tracked the pace while saving ground on the rail in Saturday's $150,000 Comely S. (G3) at Aqueduct, scooted through coming into the stretch and pulled away to record a 2 1/4-length victory under jockey Luis Saez. The David Fawkes trainee was sent off the 6-1 fourth choice and returned $14, $6.90 and $4 for earning her first stakes victory.
"I didn't think (the rail would open)," Fawkes admitted. "I didn't think she would get through there. (Last time) she stumbled a little bit and was rushed a little bit, and that isn't her. We've been working hard with her to sit off the pace, and it worked out.
"We'll talk to Mr. Queen and try to make a plan. I think she's going to stay here. We'll find something. There will be something, somewhere."
R Holiday Mood (Trippi) and Mysterious Chimes (Aldebaran) took command of the race when the gates opened, with the former holding a slight advantage through the opening quarter in :23 and the half-mile in :46. Mysterious Chimes ranged up to run in tandem while passing six furlongs in 1:10, but Saez was already giving Hot Summer her cue and the dark bay miss slipped up to the inside of R Holiday Mood. Continuing her momentum down the lane, Hot Summer finished up the one-mile test in 1:35 2/5 while easily holding the late run of Her Smile (Include).
"(I saw on paper) that she's got speed," Saez said. "When she got to the gate, she wanted to go, but I got hold of her. At the three-eighths pole, I waited for the hole to open, and she responded.
"This is my first time riding here," he added. "I like it."
Ava K. (Dixie Union), the 7-5 favorite who had raced just to the outside of Hot Summer on the backstretch, grabbed third by a head over R Holiday Mood, with Mysterious Chimes, Vixen's Roar (Pulpit) and Royal Sighting (Rahy) completing the order of finish.
Hot Summer ran third in her career debut at Monmouth Park, but began putting it all together when recording a 2 3/4-length triumph in her second start at that track in mid-October. Fawkes sent her out once more as a juvenile, and the filly responded with a seven-length romp against allowance rivals on November 29. Hot Summer returned three months later to make her stakes bow in the Davona Dale S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park, but faded to fifth on the wire after contesting the eearly lead. This victory in the Comely got her back on track, and the sophomore miss now boasts a 5-3-0-1, $158,200, lifetime mark.
Bred by Lazy Lane Farms Inc. in Virginia, Hot Summer was purchased by her current owner for $180,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. She is out of the stakes-placed Summer Delight (Quiet American), who's first registered foal is multiple stakes-placed Southwest (Cozzene). The 12-year-old mare has also produced an unnamed juvenile colt by Lemon Drop Kid, an unnamed yearling colt by Hard Spun and a 2011 full brother to the Comely heroine.
Hot Summer's third dam is Grade 3 victress Key to the Bridge (Key to the Mint), dam of Grade 2 scorer Islefaxyou (Storm Bird). More importantly, her fourth dam is 1991 Broodmare of the Year Toll Booth (Buckpasser), meaning she can trace to A.P. Indy (Seattle Slew), Summer Squall (Storm Bird) and Lemon Drop Kid (Kingmambo), among others.