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ELMONT, NY – Trainer Jonathan Thomas is hoping that lightning can strike twice at stakes caliber this Belmont Park fall meet when he sends out Bay Storm for Friday’s inaugural running of the $100,000 Glen Cove for sophomore fillies going 7 furlongs over the Widener turf.
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Owned by Bridlewood Farm, Bay Storm enters the Glen Cove off a wire-to-wire win in the Christiecat on opening weekend at Belmont, registering a 92 Beyer Speed Figure for the 3-length triumph. The dark bay or brown daughter of Kantharos broke sharply from the hedge in the Christiecat and never relinquished her advantage as she drew clear of the field under Hall of Famer John Velazquez
In her previous trio of starts, Bay Storm came from off the pace, including a 2-length maiden score last October at Belmont over eventual winners O’ Gotten Girl and Third Draft, the latter of whom was stakes-placed. Following this effort, she did not race until August of this year, where she was a close fifth beaten 1 3/4 lengths against winners over Saratoga’s Mellon Turf ahead of her Christiecat score.
Although Bay Storm has never raced past 6 furlongs in 4 lifetime starts, Thomas expressed confidence in his filly’s ability to get the distance in the Christiecat.
“When you ride Johnny Velazquez, the instructions are pretty simple,” Thomas said. “He took control of the race, she broke well and settled really nicely on the front end and was able to kick away. She looks like she’ll stretch out. We won’t take the weather for granted as long as we have good ground and weather.”
Thomas said 1 mile could possibly be within reach farther down the road.
“It’s hard to tell,” Thomas said. “She’s out of a Lemon Drop Kid mare (stakes winner Stormy Regatta), so there’s plenty of stamina on the bottom. It’ll be up to her. I don’t see her being a mile and 1/4, but she could be effective at a mile.”
Luis Saez picks up the mount from post 7.
Shortleaf Stable’s Caldee, second in the Christiecat, will attempt to turn the tables on Bay Storm for trainer Brad Cox.
The daughter of veteran stallion More Than Ready saw a considerable cutback in distance from her previous 4 efforts this year at 1 mile to a mile and 1/16, which included runner-up efforts in the Dueling Grounds Oaks Preview on August 7 at Ellis Park and the Christiana on July 3 at Delaware Park.
Second in last year’s Miss Grillo (G2) at Belmont to Plum Ali in her only graded stakes effort, Caldee defeated winners going 1 mile on May 28 over the Widener turf in her most recent victory.
Manny Franco will return to the irons from post 3.
Michael Ryan, Jeff Drown and Team Hanley’s Invincible Gal has been second 5 times over as many ovals at stakes level and seeks a breakthrough victory for trainer Graham Motion.
Winless in 8 starts since a debut win last August at Saratoga, Invincible Gal will cut back for the Christiecat, arriving off a second in the nine-furlong Virginia Oaks on August 31 at Colonial Downs. After finishing second in the Tepin last November at Aqueduct, she picked up another runner-up effort off a 6-month layoff when second beaten a neck in the Soaring Softly (G3) at Belmont on May 15.
Breaking from post 5, Invincible Gal will be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr.
Jim Bakke and Gerald Isbister’s Honey Pants has earned both of her career victories at Belmont and will vie for her first stakes victory after 5 previous attempts at that level.
Trained by Christophe Clement, the gray or roan daughter of Cairo Prince was second in the Stewart Manor last fall at Aqueduct en route to another runner-up effort in her sophomore bow in the Ginger Brew on January 2 at Gulfstream Park. Honey Pants defeated winners 3 starts back going 6 furlongs over the inner turf on June 20, defeating next-out winners Too Sexy and Time Limit.
Dylan Davis will pick up the mount from post 12.
Completing the field are Alwayz Late (post 1, Jose Ortiz), Orbs Baby Girl (post 2, Hector Rafael Diaz Jr.), Adelaide Miss (post 4, Jorge Vargas Jr.), Aug Lutes (post 6, Jose Lezcano), Spirit of Bermuda (post 8, Javier Castellano), Miss Dracarys (post 9, Junior Alvarado), Por Que No (post 10, Paco Lopez), and Keeper of Time (post 11, Kendrick Carmouche).
The Glen Cove is slated as race 7 (3:49 PM) on Friday’s 9-race program. First post is 12:35 PM Eastern.
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