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Scooh On a Hill won his career debut at Arlington Park in August and looks like a top contender for the Summer Stakes on Saturday at Woodbine. (Photo by Four Footed Fotos)

Two-year olds going long on the turf in the fall can lead to wide open and exciting action and the 60th running of the Grade 2 $200,000 Summer Stakes Presented by TVG is a perfect example.

The race brings together a field of ten hoping for a win, which gains automatic entry into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf the first weekend in November. All of them have yet to win a stakes, but School On a Hill and Asserting Bear both won their most recent starts on turf so may have an experience edge over the rest. Phenomenalmoon, one of three runners trained by Woodbine based trainer Mark Casse, also won his most recent race, while another Casse trainee, My Conquestadory (one of two fillies in the field), is making her career debut in the Summer. Dig Alittle Deeper has positive stakes experience many here lack, having just finished second in the Swynford Stakes, while Vandal Stakes fourth place finisher Matador and Clarendon Stakes fourth place finisher Grom are two more that might move forward and win. Spanish Flower, the other filly, lost by a head in her debut and has improving to do as well. Tropic of Artie also lost by inches in his most recent race. Go Bro rounds out the field, having tired to sixth in his only start.

School On a Hill won in his one-and-only start, at Arlington Park last month, earning a 78 Equibase Speed Figure. That figure is likely to be improved upon, particularly as the win came at this mile distance on turf. Showing a lot of maturity in a field of 10, School On a Hill rallied from fifth in the field before drawing off late by nearly three lengths. Now in the barn of excellent trainer Wayne Catalano, School On a Hill has worked very nicely on the grass coming into the Summer so has every right to win his second race in a row.

Asserting Bear just won on the turf course at Woodbine, battling head-and-head for most of the seven furlong race and prevailing by a head over Tropic of Artie at the finish. With that effort he improved markedly off his ninth place debut three weeks earlier, to a 75 figure.  With more improvement likely in his third career start, as well as proven to like the turf, Asserting Bear would be no surprise if getting his picture taken in the winner's circle following the running of the Summer Stakes.

Tropic of Artie also showed marked improvement from his first start, when fifth, to his second start, missing by a head to Asserting Bear on the turf course. With the same 75 to improve upon in his second consecutive race since adding blinkers and with an inside, ground saving post position, Tropic of Artie is yet another contender to win the Summer and move on to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf in seven weeks.

The rest of the field, with their best representative Equibase Speed Figures, is Dig Alittle Deeper (78), Go Bro (57), Grom (79), Matador (78), Phenomenalmoon (77) and Tropic of Artie (75). My Conquestadory is a first time starter.

My Selections:

School On a Hill

Asserting Bear

Tropic of Artie

$200,000 Summer Stakes

Saturday, Woodbine, Race 9, 4:53 p.m. ET

2-year-olds, 1 mile on the turf







Spanish Flower (KY)

R Maragh


M R Frostad


Tropic of Artie (PA)

P Husbands


B A Lynch


My Conquestadory (KY)

E R Da Silva


M E Casse


Go Bro (ON)

T Pizarro


M Keogh


Dig Alittle Deeper (KY)

J M Campbell


N Gonzalez


School On a Hill (KY)

E Wilson


W M Catalano


Matador (ON)

L Contreras


M E Casse


Phenomenalmoon (KY)

G Boulanger


M E Casse


Grom (ON)

O Moreno


R Gerl


Asserting Bear (ON)

J McAleney


R Baker


Image Description

Ellis Starr

National Racing Analyst for Equibase, Fan Education Specialist, Bettor, Magister of Equine Prognostication (Handicapper).

Image Description

Ellis Starr

National Racing Analyst for Equibase, Fan Education Specialist, Bettor, Magister of Equine Prognostication (Handicapper).

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