|BC Turf Sprint|
|Got Stormy||Oleksandra||Leinster||Glass Slippers||Imprimis||Into Mystic||12-8-7/6-3/9-1-4-13/10-11-5-2|
(Got Stormy / Coady Photography)
One of the best training jobs this year has to be credited to newly-minted Hall of Famer Mark Casse.
And, much of the success has really nothing to do what happens “between the lines,” so to speak. In other words, the biggest and best training job may have been done in the planning and plotting; not in the working and the running.
Earlier this year, it certainly appeared that one of Casse’s prized pupils — the 5YO mare Got Stormy — was getting dull and stale. The mare — who ran a game 2nd in the Breeders’ Cup Mile just a year ago — was truly struggling to find her old form.
In the first 5 starts of the year? She had 2 seconds and 3 fourth-place finishes.
In races where Got Stormy used to get wins, she was now struggling to just keep up and stay in.
In a year of turmoil, Got Stormy seemed to be in turmoil.
Until Casse made a trainer’s decision that may go down in history as one of the best ever. Instead of beating his and his filly’s head against the wall, he decided to take one of the best milers in the world and make her a sprinter.
What he did was make her a new and improved horse, and maybe a new contender for another Championship.
Two starts ago, Casse entered Got Stormy in the G3 Ladies Sprint at Kentucky Downs.
Last start, Casse entered Got Stormy in the G3 Franklin County Buffalo Trace over the same sod she will tread on Saturday in the Breeders’ Cup.
Now, she will enter the G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint as one of the top contenders.
Here’s our look-in:
- Got Stormy (Get Stormy — Super Phoebe, by Malabar Gold): The “new and improved” Got Stormy has reinvented herself with the cutback in distance and now she rolls into her second straight Breeders’ Cup Championship Saturday with a huge chance to beat the boys and make a career statement that she is truly one of the best grass runners of her era. The win here over this track in the last out was amazing, as she blitzed home from next-to-last to grab the win by a nose hair at the wire. Jockey Tyler Gaffaliione may need to kick her into high gear just a bit sooner in this spot, but this gal has the mojo and the motor to get the job done. In 24 career starts over the sod, she has a record of 10-5-3 and has earned nearly $2 million now in purse earnings. Would not discount.
- Oleksandra (Animal Kingdom — Alexandra Rose, by Caesour): This 6YO mare whipped the boys last time out, winning the G1 Jaipur at Belmont Park back in June. This deep, deep closer has raced three times at the distance. She has accumulated a record of 2 wins and 1 second for one of the best trainers to ever fit a halter over the head of a Thoroughbred. Won at Keeneland in October of 2019. Will be coming with a fury. Will need some racing room and some racing luck. But this one has a way of making her own luck, too. Has hit the board in 13 of 15 lifetime starts.
- Leinster (Majestic Warrior — Vassar, by Royal Academy): There is no horse in this race that loves the Keeneland green grass more than this 5YO horse. Going into Saturday’s event, he has hit the starting gate in Lexington four different times. He has gone to the winner’s circle three times, and ran a tough-beat 2nd in the other. This guy will try to stalk the early leaders and if he has able to carve out that kind of trip, he will get the jump on the true and later closers. That may be enough to propel this one to victory here. Again. The dam of this one has produced 5 different turf winners from 7 starters. And? Well, she has produced three Stakes winners, too. Not bad. Not bad, at all.
- Glass Slippers (Dream Ahead — Night Gypsy, by Mind Games): This British-bred filly is yet another female who will try to upset the boys in this 5.5-furlong sprint. And, she has the credentials to do it, too. In 16 starts in the career, she has a 6-3-1 mark. But look at the record when she sprints. In 5 races? She has 2 wins and 2 seconds. Has the most experience for a soft or heavy turf, and the grass courses here at this time of year will always carry a bit of moisture left over from the cool and chilly nights. There will be some cut to the ground. She should excel over it. Will get the Lasix for the first time, too. Doesn’t hurt. The dam of this one has thrown 6 turf winners from 9 states and has produced two Stakes winners. Pedigree is there. At 12-1 ML odds? Worth a shot.
- Imprimis (Broken Vow — Shoppers Return, by Put It Back): One of the top colts to make the field. Comes in off two wins in a row, and the runners who have prepped and won at Kentucky Downs have certainly returned to racing in other venues with a lot of success and power. This closer can kick it home with the best of them, too. The real question in this one is who will set the pace? Who will set it up for the late-runners? Is there enough speed to allow for a late rally? It’s a legit question.
- Into Mystic (Into Mischief — Loveofalifetime, by Medaglia d’Oro): Deserves a look here simply off the last two 2nd place finishes to Got Stormy. Last one was a whisker difference. Has only raced over the sod 4 times in her life. Has a 1-1-1 mark. Lacks experience. But doesn’t lack guts.
How Do We Play It?
We will stick with the proven commodity here in both Got Stormy, who has clearly relished the cut-back in distance and has reinvigorated her career, and Leinster. The mare will need to crank the motor up a tad earlier than maybe she likes. But she has the quality. She has the class. And, she may have the talent to win a Breeders’ Cup at her 2nd best distance. Leinster just simply loves this course. Loves it. And, you have to respect that. I will bet this duo to win/place and hit them hard in an exacta box. I will also key them both over/under the “all button” in two smaller units.