TORONTO, July 15, 2020 – Summer Sunday, one of two Stuart Simon trainees in the field, seeks to defend her crown in Saturday’s co-featured Grade 2 $175,000 Royal North Stakes, at Woodbine.
Bred in Ontario by Trinity West Stables and owned by Anne and William Scott, five-year-old Summer Sunday will look to make a return to the winner’s circle for the first time since her victory in the Royal North last July.
Her stablemate, multiple stakes champion Sister Peacock, will also go postward in the six-furlong turf event, part of a card that also includes the $125,000 Trillium Stakes (Grade 3, 1 1/16 miles on the Tapeta) for fillies & mares, three-year-olds and up.
A daughter of Silent Name (JPN) out of the Millennium Allstar mare Dancing Allstar, Summer Sunday heads into the Royal North off a third-place effort in the six-furlong main track Whimsical (Grade 3) on June 21 at Woodbine.
Simon is hoping the bay mare, named Canada’s champion female sprinter in 2019, builds off that first start of her campaign.
“I think she was pretty ready the first time,” said Simon. “She hooked a really tough horse [sprint star Jean Elizabeth]. The way the race unfolded, with nobody else going with that filly, I thought she ran a pretty adequate race for her first time this year.”
Debuting in July 2017, Summer Sunday wowed in winning a 5 1/2-furlong Tapeta race by five lengths. She then stepped up to the stakes ranks, notching victories in the Nandi and Muskoka, finishing her campaign a perfect three-for-three.
After a ninth-place finish in the Beaumont (Grade 3) at Keeneland in April 2018 to begin her three-year-old season, Summer Sunday rhymed off wins in four of her next five starts, from April 2018-July 2019.
Summer Sunday, 7-1-1 in 12 starts, closed the curtain on her 2019 season with a runner-up finish in the Seaway Stakes (Grade 3) and a fourth in the Ontario Fashion (Grade 3).
“She’s coming into this race in really good shape,” noted Simon. “She seems to be herself. She didn’t run badly the first time. I think she’ll run that much better this time. With her turf form – she’s run once and won this race last year – she should run well on Saturday. I always thought she’d like the turf, I just never had the chance to fit a race in until last year, and after the Royal North, I never had a chance to run her on it again until now.”
A four-year-old daughter of Real Solution, Sister Peacock, co-owned by Simon (along with Brent and Russell McLellan) comes into the Royal North off a sharp score on June 13 at the Toronto oval. The Kentucky-bred took a seven-furlong main track race by three-quarters-of-a-length.
The win was the fifth in 11 starts for the bay filly, who won last year’s editions of the Star Shoot Stakes and William D. Graham Memorial.
Bred by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Sister Peacock sports a record of 1-2-2 in five turf tries.
“I think she’ll run well, too,” said Simon. “She’s really strong on the turf and won on it here last year. She just got beat on the turf at Saratoga [third, a neck back of winner Eyeinthesky, in the Galway Stakes] last year. She’s going into the race in really good shape as well.”
Expect Summer Sunday and Sister Peacock to be prominent early.
“Both of the horses don’t need the lead, but they’re usually both up close. They have similar running styles that way, but they are both good, honest fillies.”
Other entrants include Gary Barber’s four-year-old Eyeinthesky, and Barbara Minshall trainee Another Time (cross-entered in the Trillium), who finished second, a neck back of Elizabeth Way, in the Nassau (Grade 2) on June 27.
The Trillium Stakes has attracted eight starters, including 2019 multiple Sovereign Award finalist Amalfi Coast, graded stakes-placed Painting, who rallied impressively to finish second to Jean Elizabeth in the Whimsical (Grade 3), and Live Oak Plantation’s multiple stakes winner Souper Escape.
The Royal North is scheduled as the ninth race on Saturday’s 10-race program. The Trillium goes as race eight. First post is 1 p.m. Fans can watch and wager on all the action via HPIBet.com.
$175,000 ROYAL NORTH STAKES
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Foxxy Belle – Justin Stein – Norm McKnight
2 – Bohemian Bourbon – Leo Salles – Ian Wilkes
3 – Summer Sunday – Rafael Hernandez – Stuart Simon
4 – Another Time – Jerome Lermyte – Barbara Minshall
5 – Sister Peacock – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Stuart Simon
6 – Eyeinthesky – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse
7 – Gamble’s Candy – Luis Contreras – Josie Carroll
8 – Lady Grace – Kazushi Kimura – Mark Casse
9 – Charmaine’s Mia – Steven Bahen – Michael McDonald
$125,000 TRILLIUM STAKES
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Souper Escape – Luis Contreras – Michael McDonald
2 – Amalfi Coast – Justin Stein – Kevin Attard
3 – Art of Almost – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Roger Attfield
4 – Theodora B. – Patrick Husbands – Michael Dickinson
5 – Nantucket Red – Steve Bahen – Ashlee Brnjas
6 – Painting – Kazushi Kimura – Josie Carroll
7 – Another Time – Jerome Lermyte – Barbara Minshall
8 – Wings of Dawn – Rafael Hernandez – Mark Casse