A jockey who wins races at a 10-percent rate is considered good. A jockey winning at a 15-percent rate is considered very good. And a jockey winning at a 20-percent rate is considered exceptional.
So what does that make Nancy Summers? Out of this world? She’s been winning at Sunland Park Racetrack at a 26-percent clip this season. Really!
Okay, so she doesn’t ride as much as other jockeys, who are almost all males. But she rides in enough races to make one marvel at her performance.
Through last Sunday, she had won five races in 19 starts. By comparison, leading jockey Ry Eikleberry was winning at a 19-percent clip with 37 wins in 197 starts and runner up Miguel Hernandez was winning at a 21-percent rate with 35 wins in 163 starts.
Not that winning is anything new to Summers. She’s been riding horses since she was a little girl. She started with show horses but found her way into horse racing when she was 20 in 1983. She used to ride quarter horses as well as thoroughbreds and won some of the biggest quarter horse stakes races in New Mexico. She’s sustained a winning average of more than 10 percent throughout her career and her thoroughbred mounts alone have earned $4,865,752.
So next time you go to the races at Sunland Park you’d better consider whoever she’s riding in your wager. You’ll probably win more than one out of four times and that, in horse racing, can be out of this world.
On the track
Live horse racing at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino will continue through April 16 on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Tuesdays. First post time is now 1 p.m. In last week’s stakes races:
• Saturday, Feb. 23: Dry Summer relished a slow early pace and rocketed on home to gain a definitive win in the $120,000 Mine That Bird Derby. Racing as the 6-5 favorite, Dry Summer finished with speed in reserve to win by a comfortable 1 and 1/2 lengths in the key local prep race for the $800,000 Sunland Derby (Gr. III) to be held on Sunday, March 24. The well-bred son of Any Given Saturday, ridden by Carlos Madeira, galloped through the 1 and 1/16 mile distance in a good 1:45.32. Winning trainer Joel Marr said in the winner’s circle, “I think everything worked out extremely great. I could not believe how slow they were going on the front end. No one could close with that pace. He was in a good spot throughout. When he came to New Mexico, he was ready to run. We plan on keeping him happy and running in the Sunland Derby.” As a 2-year-old, Dry Summer raced for trainer Jeff Mullins and won the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf at Del Mar last September. The multiple stakes winner earned $72,000 for owners Sam Britt and Michael House of Grenville, N.M. Joel Marr has trained Dry Summer to two wins at Sunland Park since shipping in from California last month. Dry Summer sports career earnings of over $205,000.
• Sunday, Feb. 24: Countess Curlin exuded class with a confident 4-length win in the $50,000 Island Fashion Stakes. The classy 3-year-old Curlin filly won her third straight and might run next in the $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks to be run on Sunday, March 24. Overcoming the extremely windy conditions, Countess Curlin bided her time in sixth place while under a cool ride from jockey Luis Contreras during the early stages of the one-mile feature. Trainer Steve Asmussen had her ready for a big effort on Sunday. The winning time was 1:39.68. Asmussen is the third leading trainer of all-time with over 6,380 career wins. The training wizard is only 47. Shesatopattraction ran a brave race for trainer Henry Dominguez and finished second after leading for much of the way. The 16-1 long shot outran her odds and fought grudgingly after setting the pace through a terrific headwind.