Preakness winner Summer Squall rested this summer and is rated by trainers as “very sharp now” for Monday’s $300,000 Pennsylvania Derby.
Summer Squall is the pre-race favorite against 12 3-year-old challengers and is eager to add to his $1.3 million earnings with his ninth victory.
“I’m looking for a win,” said W. Cothran Campbell, who manages the bay colt for a 28-person partnership. “He’ll be ready to go a mile and an eighth first time out.”
Others in the race are Blackhawk’s Ghost, Challenge My Duty, Chas’ Whim, Dr. Bobby A., It’s Always You, Mr. Nasty, My Other Brother, Runaway Stream, Senator To Be, Sports View, Tees Prospect and Zalipour.
Kentucky-bred Summer Squall was shipped here from Saratoga, N.Y., on Monday and has been tuning up for the Pennsylvania Derby on Labor Day since then.
“The horse has had the summer off, but he’s very sharp now,” Campbell said. “He has grown some and gained weight. We couldn’t be more pleased with the colt. He has trained beautifully at Saratoga.
“Summer Squall is an exciting horse to watch, and we’re anxious to run him in Pennsylvania after being off since mid-May.”
Trainer Neil Howard also said the horse is ready and eager after overcoming a hairline fracture to his cannon bone, which he suffered last year. At one point, there was concern that Summer Squall’s career was in jeopardy.
This year, after winning the Jim Beam and Blue Grass Stakes, he finished second to Unbridled in the Kentucky Derby, running what Howard called “a good race.”
“He got a head in front at the quarter pole, but as he turned into the stretch, the roar of the Derby crowd started him,” Howard said. “He lost his concentration, and it took him until the wire to start running again.
“After the Derby he trained like he was on a mission. We couldn’t hold him on the ground at Pimlico. He was sitting perfect in the Preakness until the quarter pole. Then, it got tight at the head of the stretch, and the tighter it got the better he liked it.”