Got Stormy punches Breeders’ Cup Mile ticket with record-setting win

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Gary Barber and Southern Equine Stable’s Got Stormy beat the boys Aug. 10 in the Grade 1, $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga Race Course, and did so in remarkable fashion.

After chasing from midpack as Gidu set blistering quarter-mile fractions of :22.65 and :44.61, the 4-year-old daughter of Get Stormy  turned for home with a tremendous rally under Ricardo Santana Jr., setting a new course record of 1:32 for the one-mile race when she crossed the finish line as the race’s first female winner. The time eclipsed the previous mark of 1:33.13 set just eight days earlier by Macagone.

Raging Bull was second by 2 1/2 lengths, while 9-5 favorite Uni completed the trifecta another head back in third.

Following in the footsteps of her sire, who won the Fourstardave in 2010, 5-1 Got Stormy wheeled back for the mile race for trainer Mark Casse just seven days after winning the Aug. 3 Fasig-Tipton De La Rose Stakes at the Spa.

The Fourstardave, a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” race, rewarded the filly with an automatic berth in the Nov. 2 TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita Park.

Barber said the 116-pound weight assignment — including Santana Jr., up for the first time in place of regular rider Tyler Gaffalione, who was committed to stablemate March to the Arch — made him want to try the Fourstardave with Got Stormy.

“One of the things I looked at was the weight. I knew the weight would help, and Gidu opened up and it set it up. It was great,” the owner said. “I told Mark I always wanted to run back in a week, and he said, ‘No, let’s take it easy and we’ll have the Woodbine Mile in five weeks.’ When she won [the De La Rose] so easy, I said we had to try this. She loves the course and she just turned in a dynamite performance. The only concern I had was that Tyler was gone, but with Ricardo, it was perfection.”

Casse is no stranger to conditioning brilliant turf fillies, having previously saddled multiple Eclipse Award winner Tepin to victory in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Mile, which was followed by a strong runner-up effort in the same race the following year.

The Canadian Hall of Fame trainer said Got Stormy is a star on the rise.

“We came back and ran her a week later, which doesn’t happen very often, but she’s turned into a super filly,” Casse said. “I told Gary early in the year that she was our next Tepin. It’s nice sometimes when you’re right. She’s amazing.”

Santana Jr said he was confident throughout aboard Got Stormy.

“She’s a monster,” Santana Jr. said. “I had plenty of horse at the sixteenth pole. I wanted to make sure she opened up so when I passed first, I made sure she was on her game. She really ran a big race.”

March to the Arch finished another head back in fourth, followed by Made You Look, Hembree, Dr. Edgar, Krampus, Gidu, and Ostilio.

The victory marked the second graded stakes win for Got Stormy, who previously captured the Grade 3 Ontario Colleen Stakes in July 2018 on the turf at Woodbine.

Got Stormy was bred in Kentucky by Mt. Joy Stables, Pope McLean, Marc McLean, and Pope McLean Jr. out of the Malabar Gold mare Super Phoebe.

With the Fourstardave victory, Got Stormy increased her earnings to $760,078 while improving her record to seven wins, one second, and three thirds from 15 starts.

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series continues on NBC Sports with the Jockey Club Derby from Belmont Park on September 7. Coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. on NBC. View the full broadcast schedule here.

Appeals court strikes down federal horseracing rules act

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NEW ORLEANS — Congress unconstitutionally gave too much power to a nonprofit authority it created in 2020 to develop and enforce horseracing rules, a federal appeals court in New Orleans ruled Friday.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, or HISA, is “facially unconstitutional.”

The authority created by the act was meant to bring uniform policies and enforcement to horseracing amid doping scandals and racetrack horse deaths. But the 5th Circuit – in two rulings issued Friday – ruled in favor of opponents of the act in lawsuits brought by horseracing associations and state officials in Texas, Louisiana and West Virginia.

The Federal Trade Commission has the ultimate authority to approve or reject HISA regulations, but it can’t modify them. And the authority can reject proposed modifications.

Three 5th Circuit judges agreed with opponents of the act – including the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and similar groups in multiple states – that the setup gave too much power to the nongovernmental authority and too little to the FTC.

“A cardinal constitutional principle is that federal power can be wielded only by the federal government. Private entities may do so only if they are subordinate to an agency,” Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan wrote for the panel that ruled in the Texas case.

The same panel, which also included judges Carolyn Dineen King and Kurt Engelhardt, cited the Texas ruling in a separate order in favor of horseracing interests and regulators challenging HISA in a different case.

The chair of the horseracing authority’s board of directors said it would ask for further court review. Friday’s ruling could be appealed to the full 5th Circuit court of the Supreme Court.

“If today’s ruling were to stand, it would not go into effect until January 10, 2023 at the earliest,” Charles Scheeler said in an email. “We are focused on continuing our critical work to protect the safety and integrity of Thoroughbred racing, including the launch of HISA’s Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program on January 1, 2023.”

The ruling was criticized by Marty Irby, executive director of the Animal Wellness Action organization. “Over the course of three Congresses, the most brilliant legal minds on Capitol Hill addressed the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act’s constitutionality and ultimately decided that the Federal Trade Commission’s limited oversight was sufficient,” Irby said in an email.

Among the subjects covered by the authority’s rules and enforcement were jockey safety (including a national concussion protocol), the riding crop and how often riders can use it during a race, racetrack accreditation, and the reporting of training and veterinary records.

Animal rights groups, who supported the law, pointed to scandals in the industry involving medication and the treatment of horses.

Duncan wrote that in declaring HISA unconstitutional, “we do not question Congress’s judgment about problems in the horseracing industry. That political call falls outside our lane.”

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, hailed the ruling on Twitter, calling HISA a “federal takeover of Louisiana horse racing.”

Fractional interest in Flightline sells for $4.6 million

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Keeneland says a 2.5% fractional interest in Breeders’ Cup Classic champion Flightline has sold for $4.6 million during a special auction before the start of its November Breeding Stock Sale.

Brookdale Farm’s Freddy Seitz signed the ticket for an undisclosed client, the track announced in a release. The sale comes a day after ownership of the 4-year-old son of Tapit retired the unbeaten colt following his record 8\-length victory in Saturday’s $6 million, Grade 1 Classic at Keeneland. Flightline likely locked up Horse of the Year honors with his fourth Grade 1 victory in six starts by a combined victory margin of 71 lengths – dominance that has drawn comparisons to legendary Triple Crown champion Secretariat.

Flightline will begin his breeding career next year at Lane’s End Farms in Versailles, Kentucky, but a stud fee has yet to be determined. West Point Thoroughbreds, part of the bay colt’s ownership, offered the fractional interest. Seitz said the buyer wanted to “make a big splash” and get more involved in the business.

“With a special horse like (Flightline) all you can do is get involved and then just hope for the best,” Seitz said in the release.

“There has never been a horse that has done what he has done for however many years, back to Secretariat. You just have to pay up and get involved, and this is kind of what he’s thinking.”