With a light schedule this week, let’s look at how two of new trainer Chad Summers’ top horses are doing:
Heading into last week’s action at Saratoga Race Course, Summers was looking forward to entering one of his newest steeds, Chanel’s Legacy, in the Grade 1, $500,000 Test. Despite his optimism, Summers didn’t achieve the impressive debut he’d imagined for his Iowa-bred filly, who never got close to the leaders before finishing eighth.
“She just came up a little short,” he said. “She got beat 8 lengths, 5 lengths for second, but overall, it was a good first race for us. We were proud of her. We look forward to tweaking a couple of things, getting her closer to the pace next time, and look for a big effort from her next time she runs.”
Chanel’s Legacy didn’t get the best of trips after leaving from post 8, having to run four- to six-wide throughout the 7-furlong race, but Summers was hesitant to blame her starting position for what happened.
“Sometimes, you’re a victim of your post, but American Gal was outside of us, and she was able to win,” he said. “It’s tough to blame the post. Speed was good that day, so we dropped back a little bit further than normal, by design. Sometimes, you just outsmart yourself. We were hoping that the speed was going to be so fast that they’d come back to us, but they just never did.”
While Summers said that he will nominate Chanel’s Legacy for the Grade 2, $250,000 Prioress Stakes at the end of the Saratoga meet, a more likely option for her next start is the Grade 3, $300,000 Charles Town Oaks on September 23.
Like the Test, the Oaks is a 7-furlong event, which Summers believes is the filly’s ideal distance. Charles Town’s smaller track layout means that a 7-furlong race requires two turns, rather than one. While most of her competition will enter not having run well (or at all) through a two-turn race, Chanel’s Legacy sports a 7-2-1-0 record over such conditions, including a win in the Martha Washington and a second in the Grade 3 Fantasy.
Mind Your Biscuits
The country’s number-one sprinter is in the midst of preparing for the Grade 1 Forego, which will be held on August 26 at Saratoga. Though a possible matchup with rival Drefong is in the cards, it’s Biscuits as usual around the barn for the 4-year-old colt and his regular jockey, Joel Rosario.
“He’s a horse who gets himself ready quick, so you try to manage that fine line between getting him to peak and building up to the peak,” Summers said. “That’s where we’re at right now. He did a little bit of a serious work (on August 3) that Joel loved. This week will be a more serious work: in company; blinkers on; a target to run at.”
A win in the Forego would be his third straight and fourth in his past five races. His last victory, the Grade 2 Belmont Sprint Championship, was the most impressive of his career. While many would love to see the streak continue, Summers knows that what matters most is what happens on November 4.
“All he has to do to win the Forego is replicate the same race that he ran in the Belmont Sprint,” Summers said. “He doesn’t have to improve off of the last race; he just has to maintain it. That’s what you try and work on, while also keeping in mind that the Forego is another stepping stone in our goal to win the Breeders’ Cup. Obviously, you want to win every time, but it’s all a stepping stone to winning the Breeders’ Cup.”
Through each win, Biscuits’ popularity continues to rise, a new experience for both the superstar and his owner/trainer.
“With it being (Fasig-Tipton) Sales Week (at Saratoga), we’ve had a lot of stud farms come and look at him,” Summers said. “All of a sudden, every race is magnified. (Hall of Fame journalist) Steve Haskin came by the barn the other day; Sheila Rosenblum of Lady Sheila Stable wanted to feed him a carrot. You understand the responsibility of what it is (to have a popular horse).”
Knowing that the recent July 22 mishap is still fresh in the minds of the racing world, Summers realizes that there’s a chance that Biscuits experiences a setback at any time, so he uses Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s extensive record as guidance. Among the many stars in his arsenal, Baffert trains Drefong, Biscuits’ top competition and the defending Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion.
“As a handicapper, you hear the old adage of the bounce theory, so how do you prevent the bounce?” he asks. “If they do stub their toe, like Arrogate in the San Diego or American Pharoah in the Travers, how do you get them back on path? Well, Arrogate looked like he worked well this morning, and Pharoah came back and won the Breeders’ Cup Classic. When you look at how to maintain and peak on the big day, Baffert is the best, so you watch him closely and see what he does to get these horses geared up.”
Stay tuned next week and all year long as racingdudes.com follows Chad Summers and Mind Your Biscuits on their quest for vengeance in the Grade 1, $1,500,000 Breeders’ Cup Sprint on November 4, 2017.
Next week’s story: “Growing a Barn: Chad Summers Profile #5″