NEW ORLEANS - The rubber game of the match between Summerly and Runway Model turned into no contest when Summerly coasted to an easy 4?-length win the Grade II $300,000 Fair Grounds Oaks, one of four stakes Saturday at the New Orleans oval.
Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey rode the Steve Asmussen-trained daughter of Summer Squall who covered the mile and a sixteenth over a fast track in 1:43.79 after setting leisurely fractions of 24.45, 49.04, 1:13.37 and 1:37.54.
"She's coming off sprint races and I was going to let her go," explained Bailey, who was riding the 3-year-old filly for the first time in the Oaks.
"I was pleased with the way she broke and I didn't think I would get away with :49 (for the half), but I was happy for every minute of it. I was more concerned on how much I had to use her (in the stretch), saving some for the next race and the race after that - enough to win, but not enough to use her."
"She was away well and had no pressure early and came home nicely," added Asmussen, who won the Fair Grounds Oaks for the second time having previously score in the race with Lady Tak in 2003. "It looked very similar to her last two races and it's a lot for her to build on confidence-wise. When she was away cleanly, :24 and change, no excuses at any point. She was right where we wanted her to be."
Summerly earned $180,000 for the win, her third straight and fourth in six starts overall. Her bankroll now stands at $341,035.
Carlea, the longest shot in the race at odds of more than 28-1, followed the leader throughout and held safe a late rally from Runway Model to finish second in the six-horse field.
"I'm very proud of her," said Josie Carroll, trainer of the runner-up. "She kept digging and trying all the way. She never gave up." "I was really disappointed in a :49 fraction," said Runway Model's trainer, Bernie Flint. "Let's face it, going a mile and a sixteenth with a :49 fraction for a half-mile is pedestrian time. (Summerly) had a very easy lead on the front /files/storyimages/and the rest of these guys are fighting to rate their horses. It's not that she could have been beaten, we had a legitimate shot at her here, but the filly had too much left in her tank."