A promising colt early in his career when winning five of his first seven starts, including the Grade 3 Hill Prince, Waterford Stable’s took the first steps towards what could be a successful 4-year-old season when a 1 ½-length winner of the Grade 3 Miami Mile Handicap at Calder Casino & Race Course on Saturday, covering the eight-furlong trip in 1:35.31 over a turf course listed as good.
Starting from post one under Joe Bravo, Summer Front was always traveling comfortably along the hedge while settling contently mid-pack as El Commodore and jockey Orlando Bocachica showed the way through early splits of :24.16, :48.57, and 1:11.71.
“The entire time I was scoping things out and watching the horses around us,” Bravo said of his race-tactics down the backstretch. “And all the time, my horse was in full control.”
As the field entered the stretch, Summer Front was angled to the outside to advance on El Commodore, who fought stubbornly through the wire but was never able to hold off the winner, giving way in the final yards.
“My horse really ran just an eighth-of-a-mile,” Bravo said. “That was it.”
“He dug in late and he tried so hard,” Bocachica said of El Commodore. “That other horse was just too good for him. But I’m proud of the way he ran.”
Summer Front returned $3.80, $3.00, and $2.20 for the win, while El Commodore paid $8.80 and $4.80 as the runner-up. It was another 1 ½ lengths to Empire Builder, who brought back $4.60 for third.
With his victory in the Miami Mile, Summer Front has now visited the winner’s circle in six of 12 starts and boasts earnings of $471,140. The son of War Front was a three-time competitor in Grade 1 races last year, crossing the wire a troubled third in both the Jamaica Handicap and Secretariat Stakes before closing out his 2012 campaign with an equally problematic sixth-place performance in the Hollywood Derby.
“He was a very unlucky horse last year,” trainer Christophe Clement said after the race. “I messed him up a little bit by running him at the wrong distance, but now we’ll try to keep him at a mile.
“Now he’ll go to New York, and we’ll look for his next race there.”