It was trainer Peter Miller, rather than odds-on favorite Lady Aurelia, who wound up dominating Saturday’s $920,000 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at Del Mar as 30-1 chance Stormy Liberal edged 13-1 shot Richard’s Boy in the final strides of the five-furlong dash to give the stable and owner Rockingham Ranch the one-two finish.
Unraced since an eighth-place finish in the Jaipur (G3) at Belmont on June 10, Stormy Liberal proved plenty fit off the long spell. Rating in mid-pack along the inside under Joel Rosario, Stormy Liberal improved position at each call, came outside to make a bid at Richard’s Boy, who briefly overtook the lead from pacesetter Pure Sensation in deep stretch, and got his head up at the line to register the upset.
“[Miller] said to stay inside and save some ground then make my run,” Rosario said. “I did that and it worked out perfect. He really was there for me. He did all the work.”
Stormy Liberal covered the distance in :56.12 and paid $62.40.
“I’m just elated to win a Breeders’ Cup at home. It’s just amazing,” Miller said. “The first win I’ve ever had, I thought we had home court advantage and they ran to that. Richard’s Boy ran his butt off. I couldn’t be prouder of these horses. They’re just two gutsy, tough, hard-knocking horses.”
Second choice Disco Partner rallied for third, a half-length behind Richard’s Boy. The order of finish was rounded out by Bucchero, Pure Sensation, Marsha, Washington DC, Cotai Glory, Lady Aurelia, Hogy, and Mongolian Saturday, the 2015 Turf Sprint winner.
Sent off at 9-10, Lady Aurelia tracked in fourth to the stretch but failed to offer a kick thereafter.
“I got into a spot I wanted at the three-eighths pole and she was just flat down the lane,” jockey John Velazquez said.
Claimed last October for $40,000, Stormy Liberal finished second in the San Simeon (G3) in his second outing for his new connections, then captured the $82,000 Clocker’s Corner, $80,000 Joe Hernandez, $84,000 Siren Lure, and the Daytona (G3) in succession, all at Santa Anita. The son of Stormy Atlantic has now earned $983,570 from a record of 22-8-6-1.