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Thursday, January 9, 2014
Summer Front tops Ft. Lauderdale

By Jack Shinar

Multiple graded stakes winner Summer Front, freshened up for his 5-year-old campaign by trainer Christophe Clement, meets defending Ft. Lauderdale Stakes upset winner Mucho Mas Macho Jan. 11 at Gulfstream Park.

Ten were entered in the well-matched 1 1/16-mile event scheduled for the turf, which is race 9 on the Saturday program with a probable post time of 4:33 p.m. EST. Two of the entrants, Csaba and Suns Out Guns Out, are entered for the main track only. The Ft. Lauderdale is one of two graded stakes on the card, to be followed by $100,000 Hal's Hope.

Waterford Stable's Summer Front has not raced since putting in a big effort in the Citation Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park Nov. 29. Rallying from fifth on the turn in the 1 1/16-mile test on good turf, he made up much ground through the stretch to miss by a nose to the well-regarded Silentio, the third-place finisher in the Breeders' Cup Mile.

That ended a season in which Summer Front captured both the Miami Mile Handicap in April and the Cliff Hanger in August. Summer Front has been training for his return at Payson Park since before Christmas. Joe Bravo retains the mount on the 5-year-old bay horse by War Front, a seven-time winner from 15 starts with earnings of $584,140.

Summer Front, who won the Dania Beach as a 2-year-old at Gulfstream, is the 121-pound high weight and drew post 6.

Mucho Mas Macho produced a 41-1 shocker in last year's Ft. Lauderdale but is yet to win since for trainer Henry Collazo and Signal Hill Farms. The 5-year-old gray son of Macho Uno closed a ton of ground in his most recent effort, the Laurel Turf Cup Sept. 21 in Maryland, to finish a close third in a 13-horse field.

Several others appear capable as well, although it's difficult to sort out the pace scenario. Wachtel Stable's Tetradrachm has shown some speed in his recent starts for trainer Bill Mott and may show the way from the rail under Luis Saez. The 5-year-old Badge of Silver gelding is still looking for his first stakes win and comes off a close runner-up finish as the favorite in the Tropical Turf Handicap over a good turf at Calder Casino & Race Course.

Team Valor International's Howe Great, leaving from post 2 with Joel Rosario aboard, looks to rebound from a seventh in the Red Smith Handicap in his most recent try Nov. 16 at Aqueduct Racetrack. The 5-year-old son of Hat Trick had posted four consecutive placings in Grade 3 events prior to that.

Hierro, trained by Tod Pletcher for Stonestreet Stables, just won his Gulfstream Park turf debut Dec. 8 comfortably by two lengths over an allowance/optional claiming field at one mile. The 5-year-old son of Hard Spun will have Javier Castellano aboard once again.

Others who could have a say are Richard Sherman's Nikki's Sandcastle, winner of the Fayette Stakes on the Keeneland Polytrack Oct. 26; Juddmonte Farms' Slumber, a disappointing sixth as the favorite in the Canadian International in his most recent start Oct. 27 on yielding turf at Woodbine; and Augustin Stable's Utley, third on yielding sod in the Dec. 28 El Prado at Gulfstream.

Nikki's Sandcastle and Csaba have also been entered in the Hal's Hape.