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Got Stormy punches Breeders’ Cup Mile ticket with record-setting win

Go Stormy becomes the first filly or mare to win the Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga for an automatic entry into the Breeders' Cup TVG Mile.

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.