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Summer Sunday hangs on in Eternal Search thriller

October 29, 2021

TORONTO, October 29, 2021 – Summer Sunday was able to fend off a furious late charge from Royal Wedding to take the $100,000 Eternal Search Stakes, Friday at Woodbine.

Originally slated for 7 ½-furlongs on the Inner Turf, the race for Ontario-sired filles and mares, three-years-old and up, was run at seven panels over the Tapeta.

It was multiple stakes winner Summer Sunday, the even-money choice, who broke sharply and was confidently taken to the front by Rafael Hernandez as She’s a Dream matched early strides with the pacesetter through an opening quarter in :23.70.

Summer Sunday increased her half-length advantage to two lengths through a half-mile in :46.62, as She’s a Dream still held second, a head in front of Hello Friends.

As the field straightened for home, Summer Sunday began to draw away from her six rivals, on top by 2 ½-lengths at Robert Geller’s stretch call. While the race appeared to be over, Royal Wedding, at 19-1, under Daisuke Fukumoto, had other designs, finding a seam along the rail, then taking dead aim at the frontrunner.

At the wire, Summer Sunday was able to eke out a head triumph over Royal Wedding. November Fog rallied to be third.

Final time for the race was 1:23.74.

Summer Sunday sticks a nose in front for jockey Rafael Hernandez to claim the Eternal Search Stakes on October 29 at Woodbine. (Michael Burns Photo)
Summer Sunday sticks a nose in front for jockey Rafael Hernandez to claim the Eternal Search Stakes on October 29 at Woodbine. (Michael Burns Photo)

“Stuart (trainer, Simon) always tells me, ‘Rafi put him where she’s comfortable.’ She broke out of there and took me to the lead, nobody else wanted to (go). I was there, so I took it.”

The Eternal Search was the ninth career stakes score for the daughter of Silent Name (JPN), who is now 11-3-1 from 21 lifetime starts for owners Anne and William Scott.

“It seemed like she was going nice and easy up front and she kicked on at the head of the lane,” offered Simon. “I don’t think she saw that horse coming on the inside. I think when the horse engaged her, just past the wire, she went off away again on the lead after the wire. I think she’s showing more and more she wants to go further and further to be honest. She can get into that stride and keep going.

“Like I was saying the other day, not many horses can carry her game,” Simon continued. “She’s won stake races in graded stake races from five furlongs to a mile-and-a-sixteenth, on all three courses they have here at Woodbine. She’s a dream horse and she’s been a wonderful gift.”

Summer Sunday paid $4.30 for the win.

The six-year-old bay mare, Canada’s champion female sprinter in 2019, was bred by Trinity West Stables Ltd.

The race is named after the three-time Canadian champion, purchased at age two for $50,000 by 2010 Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame inductee Mel Lawson, who raced her under his Jim Dandy Stable banner. Eternal Search retired from racing with 15 stakes victories and posted a record of 18-11-2 from 44 starts. She was trained by Ted Mann, who became a member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1982.

Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms on Twitter

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