Stormy Liberal on Saturday became the second horse to successfully repeat in the $920,000 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1), getting his neck in front of the game and determined 2-1 favorite World of Trouble in the final strides.
Unlike Mizdirection, who won the Turf Sprint at Santa Anita in 2012-13, Stormy Liberal has accomplished the feat over two different courses. Last year it was on the very firm track at Del Mar. On Saturday it was at Churchill Downs over a course designated as yielding.
Advancing from fourth to third around the turn as World of Trouble set fractions of :22.50 and :45.83, Stormy Liberal reached his younger rival in mid-stretch and wore him down late under Drayden Van Dyke for owners Rockingham Ranch and David Bernsen.
Trained by Peter Miller, Stormy Liberal returned $16 after completing 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:04.05. World of Trouble finished 7 1/4 lengths ahead of Disco Partner, who also ran third in the Turf Sprint in 2017.
“He broke really sharp. I knew there were a few who were going to be a little bit faster than me. I bided my time and let them get by me, then just tipped him outside. From there on, it was up to him to do the running,” Van Dyke said. “Stormy Liberal likes to hang on horses and not pass them, but he got him. It was awesome.”
Stormy Liberal has been a “Cardiac Kid” for much of his stakes career, rarely prevailing in anything other than photo finishes. Prior to this Breeders’ Cup repeat, Stormy Liberal won photos in the Green Flash H. at Del Mar and the Eddie D. (G3) at Santa Anita. He’s won four other stakes, including the 2017 Daytona (G3), and also placed in the Al Quoz Sprint (G1) at Meydan last March. His record now stands at 30-12-8-1, $1,918,930.
A six-year-old gelding by Stormy Atlantic and out of the Royal Academy mare Vassar, Stormy Liberal is a half-brother to Grade 3 winner Shimmering Moment. He was bred in Kentucky by Dapple Bloodstock and Gryphon Investments.