October 3, 2023

$168.60 Wow Whata Summer shocks Penn Mile; Haughty dismisses foes in Penn Oaks

Jockey Tyler Conner celebrates Wow Whata Summer's upset in the Penn Mile (Photo By Kathy Hair/Equi-Photo)

Friday night’s $400,000 Penn Mile (G2) produced a gigantic upset as the 83.30-1 Wow Whata Summer repelled 1-2 favorite Annapolis. The companion $150,000 Penn Oaks proved more formful, courtesy of 2-5 favorite Haughty running up to her odds at Penn National.

Penn Mile (G2)

Soft ground was the key factor in the lucrative Penn Mile, with the eight-horse field strung out like steeplechasers. The unheralded Wow Whata Summer had never raced in such conditions, but the light-framed gelding skipped over the ground readily under a heady ride by Tyler Conner.

Trained by James Lawrence II, the Jeremy Brooks homebred raced in fourth while Uncaptured Spirit rolled forward through an initial quarter in :24.08. But Wow Whata Summer was tugging on the inside, and Conner wisely let him stride up into second by the half in :49.50. The Summer Front gelding matched strides with Uncaptured Spirit down the backstretch, then put him away and opened up passing six furlongs in 1:14.43.

Annapolis, making his first start back since scratching from the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) due to injury, was always in a handy spot near the pace. The hitherto unbeaten colt tried his best to lift in the lane, but just could not summon his usual turn of foot, and churned home second.

Wow Whata Summer kept plowing through the going to prevail by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:42.39. Those who divined his potential reaped a windfall of $168.60.

Uncaptured Spirit checked in two lengths adrift of Annapolis in third. The only other sophomore still in shouting distance, fourth-placer Red Danger, was a further 2 3/4 lengths back. Fort Washington, the 5-1 second choice, was never competitive in fifth. An uninterested last throughout the early stages, he just managed to trudge on better than three others who slowed appreciably – Ohtwoohthreefive, Witty, and Noneedtoworry.

Wow Whata Summer’s first stakes coup boosted his bankroll to $296,000 from a 7-2-0-2 line. The dark bay was also finishing first for the first time, having been elevated to his Virginia-restricted maiden win via disqualification at Colonial Downs. Wow Whata Summer’s best results had come in sprints, with closing thirds in last summer’s Hickory Tree S. as well as an April 23 Laurel allowance. His prior stakes tries were fourths in Colonial’s Kitten’s Joy S. and the Laurel Futurity.

The Kentucky-bred was offered as a “short” yearling at Keeneland January, but led out unsold for $24,000. His dam, the Malibu Moon mare Loan Guarantee, is a half to stakes-winning Strong Incentive, the dam of Keeneland track record-setting stakes hero Highly Motivated. Runner-up to champion Essential Quality in last year’s Blue Grass (G2), Highly Motivated just captured a May 28 Belmont Park allowance.

Penn Oaks

Haughty made it look easy in the Penn Oaks, living up to her name as the class of the field. Third to Royal Ascot-bound Pizza Bianca when last seen in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), the Chad Brown trainee was settled in a ground-saving fourth early by Flavien Prat. Flanking Haughty was stablemate Customer List, who had the favorite pocketed much of the way.

Up front, 64-1 longshot Irie Empress got away with an opening quarter in :24.80. No time was reported on the chart for the half-mile, but she reached the six-furlong mark in 1:17.44. The tracking Alittleloveandluck was racing a few paths wider out, giving Prat an escape hatch aboard the favorite.

As soon as Haughty burst free between foes on the far turn, the race was effectively over. She steered wide into the stretch, but the outcome was virtually a foregone conclusion upon straightening. Haughty asserted her superiority and won geared down by 4 3/4 lengths in a final time of 1:44.43 for the mile.

Irie Empress excelled herself by holding second, 2 1/2 lengths clear of Belacqua. Alittleloveandluck dropped back to fourth, and Customer List retreated to last of the quintet. Morning Matcha was scratched.

Haughty advanced her record to 4-2-0-2, $241,200, for Bradley Thoroughbreds, Belmar Racing and Breeding, Tim and Anna Cambron, and Team Hanley. The Empire Maker filly has actually crossed the wire first in every start except the Breeders’ Cup. She was disqualified for causing interference in her Sept. 17 debut at Belmont Park and placed third. Exactly one month later, Haughty made no mistake in a four-length romp at Keeneland.

Bred by Gainesway Thoroughbreds Ltd. In Kentucky, Haughty RNA’d for $70,000 as a Keeneland September yearling before going to Bradley for $310,000 as a juvenile at OBS Spring. The bay is a half-sister to Grade 2-placed multiple stakes scorer Souper Colossal, both out of the Kingmambo mare Soaring Emotions.