HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – My Racehorse CA and Spendthrift Farm’s multiple Grade 1 winner Got Stormy reeled in long shot pacesetter Jakarta in mid-stretch and held off a furious late bid from graded-stakes winner Zofelle by a nose to make a triumphant 6-year-old debut in Saturday’s $125,000 Honey Fox (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
The 36th running of the one-mile Honey Fox for older turf females was the sixth of nine stakes, eight graded, worth $1.475 million on a blockbuster 14-race program headlined by the $300,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G2) for 3-year-olds on the road to the $750,000 Curlin Florida Derby (G1) presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms at Xalapa March 27, and $200,000 Davona Dale (G2) featuring the seasonal debut of 2-year-old filly champion Vequist.
With regular rider Tyler Gaffalione aboard for Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse, Got Stormy ($4.20) completed the distance in 1:35.52 over a firm course to earn her 11th career victory and push her bankroll further over the $2 million mark. Sent off as the even-money favorite in a field of eight, Got Stormy was racing for the first time since running fifth against males in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) Nov. 7.
It was the second win of the day for Gaffalione and helped provide of measure of relief for Casse. Earlier in the day, Casse ran second by a nose with Olympic Runner in the $125,000 Canadian Turf (G3) and saw Spanish Loveaffair disqualified from first to fourth in the $100,000 Herecomesthebride (G3).
Gaffalione settled Got Stormy in second behind Claiming Crown Distaff Dash winner Jakarta, who finished third to Got Stormy after setting the pace in the Franklin County (G3) last fall at Keeneland. Jakarta posted splits of 24.29 seconds, 48.76 and 1:12.72 and maintained the lead turning for home. Got Stormy ranged up in the straight and drew even inside the eighth pole as Zofelle began rolling on the outside, setting up the spirited bid to the wire.
Feel Glorious was part of the photo finish, running third, with Jakarta fourth and Art of Almost fifth.
$125,000 Honey Fox (G3) Quotes
Winning trainer Mark Casse (Got Stormy): “She had a great spot. Just kind of what we thought, we thought the horse that was on the lead would be there and she was sitting nice. She kicked and you could see a little bit of the rustiness today. She kicked, but she didn’t kick as hard as she does sometimes. I think she’ll build from this and get better.”
“I just wanted to get over this. I called [Spendthrift GM] Ned [Toffey] and said I figured out where I wanted to come back and I told him, and he said, ‘Fine.’ We’ll see what’s next. A lot of it depends on weather. She can’t go over a mile, and it needs to be hard if it’s a mile.”
“She was in the sale and I knew what the reserve was, and when she went over it my wife and I were watching from the office and it was sad. It was sad. And then about 20 minutes later I got a phone call that I wasn’t expecting and [Spendthrift GM] Ned Toffey said to me, ‘Let me ask you a dumb question. We’d like to run her another year, would you like to train her?’ We went from being sad to very happy. We’re excited we were able to deliver. I thought maybe last year getting her ready for her first race back I didn’t do such a good job, and this year we cranked her up a little more.”
“I was really confident with her, as long as the turf stayed hard. She should build from this; it’s just which direction do we go. She can do a little bit of anything. I don’t know. We may sprint her. Never over a mile though.”
“They don’t come around very often. We got her after a couple starts and she just got better and better. People always ask me what go ther better and it was just her confidence and much better on the racetrack. She used to be very nervous and now wherever you take her, she gets out of the van, looks around, and says, ‘Where have you taken me now?’”
Winning jockey Tyler Gaffalione (Got Stormy): “She’s a tremendous filly. I’ve been able to get to know her the past few years and I have a lot of confidence every time I’m on her. She shows up every time. Really all the credit goes to Mark and his team to get her ready off the layoff. She fired a big one today.”
Gulfstream Park Press Release
Photo: Got Stormy, on the rail. (Coglianese Photos)