Summersault coasts home a winner in Gulfstream Park’s Soaring Softly

Friday, March 30th, 2018

Coglianese Photo/Lauren King

By Sarah Mace

Seeking to break an eight-race win-drought, William Parsons, Jr. and David S. Howe’s homebred turf mare Summersault (Rock Hard Ten) got a chance Friday to remind us of what she is capable of when she sailed home a decisive winner in Gulfstream Park’s $75,000 Soaring Softly at 1 3/8 miles on turf.

Over the last 12 months, Summersault has been involved in some close decisions, but the classy mare’s last trip to the winner’s circle came on April 1 of last year in Gulfstream’s Grade 3, $200,000 Orchid Stakes. In her first two starts of 2018 — the Grade 3 La Prevoyante in late January and Grade 3 The Very One Stakes on March 3 – she finished unplaced.

Still, the Soaring Softly appeared to be right in Summersault’s wheelhouse. She had won three of eight starts at this venue and successfully navigated the 1 3/8-mile distance once before. Also in her corner, was a jockey switch to John Velazquez, who had not ridden the mare since a trio of starts in early 2015.

Biding her time through three-quarters of a mile, Summersault loped along in fifth position hugging the rail. Up front, early leader No Sweat yielded the top spot on the backstretch to an eager Empressof the Nile.

Asked for more in the far turn, Summersault came off the fence and spun into the lane three-wide while advancing into third.

Coglianese Photo/Lauren King

Rallying in the clear, Summersault gained second with a furlong to go, bore down on Empressof the Nile and swept past her rival in the final sixteenth. She crossed the finish line a 1 1/2-length winner on cruise control.

Empressof the Nile checked in second, while longshot Shezaprado collected the show. The final time for the race over the firm turf course was 2:13.05.

Before the race trainer Mark Hennig was optimistic about Summersault’s chances, telling the DRF that she was “training better now than she has in months.”

Following the win, Hennig sounded ecstatic. “I love this filly. I was glad to see her back on the board, especially here because she likes it here. It seems like she’s taken a little more time to come around this year.”

Summersault, whose record now stands at seven wins, six seconds and three thirds from 31 starts, with $488,943 in earnings, took a while to get her career rolling. She broke her maiden at ninth asking at Saratoga in 2015 but followed up with an allowance victory in her next start. Over time, she marched steadily through her state-bred and open allowance conditions and in only her second stakes try, she won the Grade 3 Orchid.

Foaled at Cedar Ridge Farm in Pine Plains, Summersault is one of four winners from five foals to start out of Saratoga Summer, a placed Kentucky-bred turf runner by Smart Strike. Saratoga Summer last changed hands via public auction in 2009 when purchased by McMahon Bloodstock for $67,000 at the Keeneland November sale. Saratoga Summer has an unnamed juvenile filly by Mineshaft and was bred to Air Force Blue in 2017.


Leave a Reply