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.

Higher Power wins $1M Pacific Classic

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DEL MAR, Calif. — With his top two horses elsewhere, John Sadler took a chance with a couple others in his barn.

Higher Power paid off.

The 4-year-old colt took command turning into the stretch and won the $1 million Pacific Classic by 5 1/4 lengths at Del Mar on Saturday, making Sadler the first trainer to win the Grade 1 race in consecutive years with different horses.

“The second time is just as sweet,” Sadler said.

In 2018, Accelerate ended Sadler’s 0-for-11 skid with a record 12 1/2-length victory in the West’s biggest race of the summer. Owner-brothers Kosta and Pete Hronis joined Sadler with consecutive victories.

“Winning it back to back is a tribute to John Sadler,” Kosta Hronis said.

Ridden by Flavien Prat, Higher Power ran 1 1/4 miles in 2:02.43 at the seaside track north of San Diego. Sent off at 9-1 odds, the colt paid $21.20, $9.40 and $7.40.

“When we entered the backside he really grabbed the bit and I was travelling really well,” Prat said. “Once the leader fell apart he really jumped into the bridle and did everything on his own, so I thought that was the right move.”

Draft Pick returned $17.40 and $10 at 13-1 odds. Mongolian Groom was another neck back in third and paid $7.20 to show at 18-1 odds.

Higher Power earned an automatic berth in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita this fall.

Seeking the Soul, the 2-1 favorite, finished seventh.

“He didn’t try at all,” jockey John Velazquez said. “No effort. I don’t get it.”

Sadler’s top two handicap horses, Gift Box and Catalina Cruiser, weren’t in the picture. Gift Box won’t run again until this fall and Catalina Cruiser is tabbed to run next in a sprint race.

Not seeing a dominant horse in the race, Sadler entered Higher Power. The colt responded with the first stakes win of his career.

“It developed pretty much the way we thought,” he said. “We thought there would be some speed on the inside and the plan was to stalk. It came out the way we thought it would.”

Sadler’s other entry, Campaign, finished fifth.

The victory, worth $600,000, increased Higher Power’s career earnings to $800,648, with five wins in 13 starts.

Sadler didn’t get Higher Power in his barn until spring. The colt was with another trainer for the first six starts of his career and then transferred to a different trainer.

In other stakes:

– Acclimate won the $250,000 Del Mar Handicap by a length under Florent Geroux. The 5-year-old brown gelding earned an automatic berth in the BC Turf.

Trained by Phil D’Amato, Acclimate ran 1 3/8 miles on turf in 2:12.71 and paid $16.60 to win at 7-1 odds.

– Cambier Parc shipped in from New York and won the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks by 1 1/4 lengths for trainer Chad Brown.

Ridden by Velazquez, the 3-year-old filly ran 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:46.75. She paid $4.40 as the 6-5 favorite.

– Fighting Mad cruised to an eight-length victory in the $100,000 Torrey Pines Stakes.

Ridden by Joe Talamo, the 3-year-old filly ran one mile in 1:38.61. Fighting Mad paid $6.60 as the 2-1 favorite trained by Bob Baffert. She’s owned by Gary and Mary West, owners of Maximum Security, disqualified after finishing first in the Kentucky Derby.

– Mr Vargas won the $100,000 Green Flash Handicap by 2 1/4 lengths.

The 5-year-old gelding ran five furlongs on turf in 56.15 seconds under Talamo. Mr Vargas paid $8.40 to win for trainer Brian Koriner.

Horologist upsets Jaywalk in Monmouth Oaks

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OCEANPORT, N.J. — Horologist upset Jaywalk, last year’s juvenile filly champion, in the $162,500 Monmouth Oaks on Saturday.

As expected, 1-5 favorite Jaywalk set the pace until Horologist made a strong run along the rail on the final turn. She slipped by to win by three quarters of a length in the stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Monmouth Park.

Horologist, bred in New Jersey, won for the fifth time in 10 starts for trainer John Mazza. Mazza said he was confident his horse would run a “bang-up race,” but he didn’t know it would be enough to beat a “champion like Jaywalk.”

Angel Suarez was aboard for the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.44.

Jaywalk was coming off a nine-length win in the Delaware Oaks last month. She closed out last season by winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies to clinch the Eclipse Award.

Horologist – whose name refers to a maker or dealer of timepieces – paid 12.80, $3.40 and $2.10 as the 5-1 second choice in the five-horse field.

Jaywalk returned $2.10 and $2.10. Sweet Sami D paid $2.10 to show, and was followed by Lady Banba and Stay Smart.