Breeders’ Cup TVG Mile Contender Got Stormy
Photo Credit Eclipse Sportswire / Breeders’ Cup Photos ©
Got Stormy – On paper, there doesn’t appear much in the way of speed in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile. Though she typically does her best running from off the pace, Got Stormy has been acting like a horse ready to take the pace scenario into her own hands Saturday.
The chestnut daughter of Get Stormy has been one of the most visually impressive contenders on the track in recent days, galloping with enthusiasm under exercise rider Kim Carroll and returning to the barn like it was nothing. While she is typically a high-energy and confident horse, trainer Mark Casse says he never has seen the 4yo act as ready for a race as she currently is.
“She is fired up and ready to go. You ever hear that saying, you have to have a butterfly net to catch her?,” Casse said with a grin. “She is a good-feeling filly but I’ve never seen her like this. She is on her game. There is not a lot of speed in the Mile, she may be the speed.”
Get Stormy put in her usual strong gallop Thursday under Carroll and is set to jog early Friday morning.
Lucullan – Godolphin LLC’s Lucullan galloped 1 3/8m at Santa Anita Thursday morning for his scheduled quest to win his fourth race in his past five starts in Saturday’s Mile.
“He’s 3-for-4 and the other time he didn’t break sharp, was down inside and drifted late,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said.
Lucullan came off a 14-month layoff to win an optional claiming allowance at Belmont July 3 before capturing the Lure Stakes at Saratoga a month later. The 5yo son of Hard Spun recovered from a slow start and early traffic to finish third in the Sept. 14 Woodbine Mile, only to be placed fourth via disqualification for drifting out late. He rebounded to capture the Knickerbocker at Belmont in his most recent start.
“He’s a nice horse. If you look back when he was 3, he was second in the Hill Prince to Yoshida and Bricks and Mortar was third,” McLaughlin said. “He’s been a nice horse for a long time. We look forward to the race on Saturday.”
Luis Saez, who has been aboard Lucullan in his four 2019 starts, has the return mount.
Uni – Leaving Barn 48 at 9:10 a.m. in tandem with Chad Brown-trained stablemate Wow Cat, last-out G1 winner Uni proceeded to gallop 1¼m over the Santa Anita main track. Leading Wow Cat by about eight lengths throughout, the Head of Plains Partners, Michael Dubb, Robert LaPenta and Bethlehem Stables-owned 5yo mare showed marked enthusiasm. On the morning line, the late-running chestnut charge is the co-second choice at 7-2 and will be ridden by regular pilot Joel Rosario from post 11 of 14.
Without Parole – Somewhat of a surprise entrant into the Mile is Without Parole, who must answer the age-old question of “what have you done for me lately” when he goes to post in the 8f affair.
Owned by reigning champion breeders John and Tanya Gunther and trained by three-time champion trainer Chad Brown, the son of Frankel is already a Group 1 winner, but has yet to win since that 2018 Royal Ascot effort.
The final horse to make the field after defections, the bay charge has been impressive in his morning gallops at Santa Anita. On Thursday, he once again left along with Brown-trained 2yos Structor and Selflessly and proceeded to gallop 1¼ miles on the main track.
His nine lifetime starts began with four consecutive wins, including a thrashing of subsequent Group 2 winner Ostilio at second asking in April 2018. Stepping up again, he beat subsequent Group 2 winner Vintager in the Heron Stakes one month later, setting him up for Royal Ascot’s St James’s Palace (G1), one of Europe’s top races for 3yos, where he easily defeating a top-class field. Winless since, he was seventh behind Lightning Spear and subsequent Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Expert Eye in the Sussex and then disappointed two more times in top company before being rested for the winter.
The half-brother to Dirt Mile winner Tamarkuz resurfaced when chasing the $6 million purse of the Dubai Turf in late March, but wound up chasing one of the world’s top-rated horses, Almond Eye, when finishing a respectable fifth by six lengths. He last raced when trailing 14 in the Lockinge at Newbury in May.
Now in the care of Brown, the former John Gosden trainee is ambitiously placed for his American debut, racing in one of the world’s top mile events.
“Tanya and I talked about it and felt that we should aim toward the Breeders’ Cup TVG Mile and take a shot, which is why we originally shipped him over from Gosden to Chad Brown,” John Gunther said. “We were expecting to run in the Shadwell Mile at Keeneland as a prep, but Chad said he needed a couple more works. He has been working with Bricks and Mortar and has been really impressive. He wouldn’t let him get by in the breezes. And, he does run well fresh, so I’m not worried about that part of it.
“We think he’s still a very genuine horse. In his second start at Yarmouth, he earned one of the highest Timeform ratings for a second start in the past decade, but things eventually just went pear-shaped,” Gunther continued. “Chad is very excited with the way he’s been training the last couple months. With him working so well with Bricks and Mortar, Chad said we should take a shot at the Breeders’ Cup TVG Mile without any prompting from Tanya or myself. My only thought was we may not get in. We were 18th on the list, so being able to get in makes us pretty happy.
“We took our time and he’s come around to where he’s working really well and we are taking a shot,” he concluded. “We’re still debating on keeping him in training next year at this point. Chad hopes to run him in the Pegasus (World Cup Turf Invitational) in January. We’ll see how he comes out and then evaluate.”
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