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Got Stormy Brings Grade 1 Class to $75K Powder Break

Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1T) runner-up a standout in mile turf test at Gulfstream Park.

Seeing a turf mare as accomplished as Got Stormy in a non-graded $75,000 stakes might seem strange, but at a time when only a few racetracks are open because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was a rather logical spot in the mind of trainer and recent United States Hall of Fame selection Mark Casse.

Since finishing a game second against the boys March 7 in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes (G1T) at Santa Anita Park, owner Gary Barber’s 5-year-old daughter of Get Stormy  has been working brilliantly at the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida.

So good, in fact, that rather than continue to wait for more tracks and graded stakes opportunities to become available, Casse decided to strike when the iron is hot and run his multiple grade 1 winner in the one-mile, $75,000 Powder Break Stakes for fillies and mares May 16 at Gulfstream Park—provided Mother Nature does not interfere with a storm of her own and create a soggy turf course.

“The Powder Break is still the plan,” Casse said May 13. “They are calling for a little weather, and we’ll see how that plays out. I wouldn’t run her (on an off turf course)—she does not like it. This race is not about the money. We have a filly that’s ready to run, and I’ve always believed in running them when they are good.”

Among the limited back-up options for the mare was the Shoemaker Mile Stakes (G1T) at Santa Anita, but Casse nixed a second cross-country trip and instead will send Barber’s 2019 Preakness Stakes (G1) winner War of Will west for the May 25 stakes.

With New York racing shuttered since March 15, the only other option would be the $100,000 Old Forester Mint Julep Stakes (G3T), a May 30 1 1/16-mile test at Churchill Downs.

“The Churchill race is a couple of weeks away, and it’s a mile and a sixteenth, which is pushing where she likes to be,” Casse said. “She can do it, but I would rather run her now, and if things are not to our liking, we won’t run (Saturday).”

The Kilroe was reflective of a 2019 body of work that included grade 1 turf wins in the Fourstardave Handicap against males and Matriarch Stakes and a runner-up finish in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1T).

“It was a strong race,” Casse said about the Kilroe. “We shipped out there. She ran against the boys and played against them in their house.”

Yet the Kilroe also generated some sighs of relief after her previous start. In her 2020 debut, Got Stormy was a shocking fourth as a 1-5 favorite in the Feb. 8 Lambholm South Endeavor Stakes (G3T), finishing two lengths behind the winner after a good trip.

“I was nervous after the Tampa race, though I had a pretty good feeling about why she didn’t run better,” Casse said about a mare bred by Mt. Joy Stables, Pope McLean, Marc McLean, and Pope McLean Jr. out of the Malabar Gold mare Super Phoebe. “We switched up her training (for the Endeavor). She likes to train on grass, and I just trained her on the dirt for that race, and it turned out to be the perfect storm. She lost it a little bit (before the race), and they changed where they normally start the race, so there was a long post parade and she was a mess. That’s not her.”

What’s typical for Got Stormy is illustrated by a record of eight wins and four seconds from 20 starts with earnings of $1,518,078. 

Bought by Alan Quartucci for $45,000 from the Niall Brennan Stables consignment at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale, she originally went to Equine Invest for $23,000 from the Pope McLean consignment at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

With regular jockey Tyler Gaffalione riding at Churchill Downs, Luis Saez will be aboard Got Stormy, who drew post 10 in a field of 11 (with one main-track-only entrant) and enters off a string of sharp :47.35, :59.60, :58.75, and :59.75 turf works, two of which were the fastest of the day at that distance.

The two-turn mile test figures to suit Got Stormy’s stalking style with the presence of the stretching-out sprinter Jakarta, plus the speedy New Jersey-bred Valedictorian, a multiple grade 3 winner, and Silver Kitten, who was second in the Honey Fox Stakes (G3T) after setting the early pace.

Other contenders include Noor Sahara, a 4-year-old daughter of Lope de Vega making her U.S. debut for trainer Chad Brown and owners Madaket Stables, Siena Farm, and Michael Dubb; Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Martin Schwartz, and China Horse Club’s undefeated Tapit  filly Valiance, who is making her first start for trainer Todd Pletcher since winning the Open Mind Stakes at Monmouth Park in June; and William Lawrence and Bradley Thoroughbreds’ Tapit Today, a 5-year-old daughter of Tapit trained by Brown who was third behind grade 1 winner Starship Jubilee in the Suwannee River Stakes (G3T).

Of the 10 turf starters, no one except Got Stormy has scored at a level above a grade 3 stakes.

The Powder Break will be the ninth race of the day with an approximate post time of 4:52 p.m. ET.

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