Palos Verdes: In Summation sticks to long-range plan
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When In Summation starts in Monday's $150,000 Palos Verdes Handicap at Santa Anita, the Grade 2 race at six furlongs will be his final start before a late winter break designed to have him in peak form later this year, according to assistant trainer Nicholas Bachalard, who directs trainer Christophe Clement's California stable.
"He seems to like California," Bachalard said.
A winner of 9 of 20 starts and $815,166, In Summation will be a strong favorite in a field of seven for the Palos Verdes. He is making his third start in eight weeks, a pattern that Bachalard said works in favor of the 5-year-old horse.
"I think he gets better when he gets in the rhythm of racing," he said.
In Summation made his first start since August in the Grade 3 Vernon Underwood Stakes at Hollywood Park on Dec. 3, finishing a troubled second. He returned to win the El Conejo at 5 1/2 furlongs by a length, rallying from fourth behind a wildly fast pace of 21.01 and 43.25 seconds.
It's unclear who will ride In Summation. Corey Nakatani, who was aboard for his wins in the Bing Crosby and El Conejo, sustained a collarbone injury in a spill at Hollywood on Saturday morning.
While he closed from off the pace to win the El Conejo, In Summation can race near the lead if necessary, Bachalard said.
Trainer Brian Koriner has two starters - Barbecue Eddie, who was second in the El Conejo, and Copa de Plata, who is making his U.S. debut after winning 5 of 10 starts in Puerto Rico.
Barbecue Eddie has placed in three consecutive stakes.
"He might inherit the lead," Koriner said. "He ran a winning race last time."
Two horses are coming off wins in optional claimers - Fly Dorcego and Soul City Slew.
Soul City Slew, claimed for $100,000 last July, won an optional claimer at seven furlongs on Dec. 8.
Surf Cat, a four-time stakes winner, makes his first start since finishing fifth in the Grade 2 Oak Tree Mile on turf here in October. A 6-year-old, he was winless in three starts last year.