Although winless on the year in five starts, Got Stormy‘s last-out run in her Fourstardave H. (G1) title defense sparks a sense of optimism ahead of her tilt at Saturday’s $500,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint (G3) over 6 1/2 furlongs.
Noting over the summer that unfavorable pace scenarios worked against his star turf mare in the Beaugay (G3) and Poker (G3), Got Stormy forged ahead into the Fourstardave at Saratoga but was largely dismissed at 10-1. However, the chestnut acquitted herself well and beat all save the pace-setting Halladay.
One might have expected Got Stormy to have aimed for the Woodbine Mile (G1), a race she finished a close second in last year as the favorite, later this month, but Casse says shortening her up is something he’s wanted to do with the multiple Grade 1 winner.
“I’ve been wanting to sprint her for a long time,” Casse said.. “Six and a half down there equates to about seven-eighths of a mile, which I think will be perfect for her.”
Kimari, the 3-year-old who was scratched from last weekend’s Prioress (G2) at Saratoga, stays on turf for Wesley Ward. The Munnings filly made her second trip to Royal Ascot in June, for the 6-furlong Commonwealth Cup (G1) against the boys, and was a fine second to Golden Horde, who subsequently placed against older rivals in both the July Cup (G1) and Haydock Sprint Cup (G1).
Other leading contenders include Into Mystic, who captured the Kentucky Downs Preview Ladies Sprint over soft ground at Ellis Park most recently, and the Christophe Clement-trained Cariba, a half-length scorer of the Caress S. at Saratoga over the speedy Jakarta.
Trainer Chad Brown, unsurprisingly, has a competitive pair for the $500,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf (G3) over one mile. Regal Glory, a Grade 2 winner last season, exits a fourth-place finish in the June 27 Just a Game (G1), where the power trio of Newspaperofrecord, Beau Recall, and Uni finished ahead of her. Joining her is Tapit Today, a last-out fourth in an increasingly key renewal of the Matchmaker (G3) at Monmouth Park.
Secret Message, past winner of the Nassau (G2) and Mint Julep (G3), was beaten only three lengths by Rushing Fall in Jenny Wiley (G1) two back and was third last out in the Perfect Sting at Saratoga. Grade 3 heroine English Affair tends to do best on softer ground, as she recently showed in the corresponding preview stakes prep at Ellis. With some rain in the forecast for that Saturday, that might work to her advantage.
Mitchell Road, who tends to race on or near the lead, finished second in this race last year. Lady Apple, a multiple Grade 3 winner on dirt, looks for a revival in form trying the turf for the first time.