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ELMONT, NY – Bridlewood Farm’s Bay Storm made her stakes debut and second start off a 10-month layoff a winning one, asserting to the front and never looking back in Friday’s sixth running of the $100,000 Christiecat for sophomore fillies going 6 furlongs over Belmont Park’s inner turf.
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Bay Storm, a Jonathan Thomas-trained dark bay or brown daughter of Kantharos, arrived from a close fifth-place finish in a first-level allowance event going 5 1/2 furlongs on August 7 over the Mellon turf at Saratoga Race Course, which was her first start since a 2-length maiden score in October at Belmont.
Displaying front-running tactics for the first time in 4 starts, Bay Storm commanded the field through every point of call and was never in doubt in the stretch, winning by 3 lengths under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez.
Breaking from post 1, Velazquez was comfortable aboard his charge down the backstretch through an opening 1/4-mile in 23.67 seconds and the 1/2-mile in 46.24 over the firm going, with stakes winner Can’t Buy Love to her outside in second.
Velazquez started getting busy past the 1/4 pole as Can’t Buy Love and Caldee put in their runs down the lane, but Bay Storm never gave way completing the 6 furlongs in 1:09.73.
Caldee finished 3 1/4 lengths clear of Tuscan Queen, who rallied late to complete the trifecta.
Completing the order of finish were Honey Pants, Can’t Buy Love, Bye Bye, and Orbs Baby Girl. Sussex Garden and main track only entrants Union Gables and Patty H were scratched.
“She broke well and got in a good rhythm,” Velazquez said. “When I asked her down the lane, she responded right away.”
Velazquez, who finished second with frontrunning Momos in the $100,000 Allied Forces run one race prior, said the moderate fractions were to his benefit.
“It always makes a difference,” Velazquez said. “Look at the race before – we went 22 and 45 and another horse [Smokin’ Jay] came and beat us from behind. Anytime you get a little break in the first part of the race, you have something to finish with.”
After a runner-up effort in the 1 1/16-mile Dueling Grounds Oaks Preview on August 7 at Ellis Park, Caldee garnered black type for the fourth time in 9 career starts.
Manny Franco, aboard Caldee, said the cut back in ground may have come into play.
“I had a good trip. She was just second best,” Franco said. “She’s always one-two but with the cut back in distance, she got outrun out of there. I had to go to Plan B – stalking the pace – and she responded really well. I’m happy with the way she ran.”
Returning $8.50 for a $2 win bet, Bay Storm upped her record to 4-2-0-1 and her lifetime earnings to $110,680, banking $55,000 in victory.
Bred in Kentucky by Candy Meadows, Bay Storm is out of the dual stakes-winning Midshipman mare Stormy Regatta. She was bought for $400,000 from the Woodford Thoroughbreds consignment at the 2020 OBS April Sale.
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