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Summer Squall had first bled from the nostrils after a Feb. 19 workout at Gulfstream Park. At the time, the son of Storm Bird, out of the good race mare Weekend Surprise, was beginning a comeback from a hairline fracture of the right foreleg that he had suffered in September. The injury had cut short a brilliant 2-year-old campaign, in which Squall had won all five of his starts.
The bleeding baffled Howard and forced him to rethink his game plan for the Triple Crown. Summer Squall didn't get his first start as a 3-year-old until the March 17 Swale Stakes at Gulfstream, and though he finished a strong second to the sprinter Housebuster, he was at least two weeks behind schedule in his training. Then came Squall's hard-earned victories on muddy tracks in the March 31 Jim Beam Stakes at Turfway Park and the April 14 Blue Grass at Keeneland. After that race, a relieved Howard said that though the colt had been rushed, he was ready for the Kentucky Derby. What Howard didn't say was that Squall had bled again before the Blue Grass.
Just like Unbridled, Summer Squall bounced back quickly from the Derby. Then last Friday, after a light gallop, he bled again, a slight trickle that lasted three or four minutes.
The unfortunate thing about the Lasix flap is that it detracted from a wonderful day and race. The weather couldn't have been nicer or the crowd at Pimlico more festive. Bettors made Unbridled the 8-5 favorite, with Summer Squall a slight 2-1 favorite over Mister Frisky.
When the starting gate opened, the long shot Fighting Notion went straight to the lead, followed closely by Mister Frisky, who angled over from his post on the far outside. Behind the leaders, Day was content to sit tight on Summer Squall, saving ground on the rail, about four or five lengths off the lead. When Fighting Notion drifted out on the turn for home, Day tried to move up, only to check his colt when the leader came back in. However, when Fighting Notion drifted out again, Day and Squall moved.
After drawing clear of the tiring Fighting Notion, Summer Squall had to contend with Unbridled, who was making his move on the outside. Day obviously had more horse than he had had in the Derby, thanks to a slower early pace and the fact that Squall, who had been distracted by the shrieking crowd in Louisville, remained focused on the competition.
Responding to a few stings of Day's whip, Summer Squall dug in and steadily pulled away. Mister Frisky finished nine lengths behind Unbridled. Summer Squall will now get the summer off before being cranked back up and pointed toward the Breeders' Cup Classic on Oct. 27 at—Belmont Park.
Asked why they would run Squall in New York for the Breeders' Cup and not the Belmont, Campbell and Howard said they felt a vacation would help the colt get over his bleeding problem. Last year he ran his most impressive races in New York without Lasix.
Campbell then paused. "Uh, not literally, but sweat a little bit," he said. "I don't think there's any horse in training today with more heart than Summer Squall."