ARCADIA, CA – It was the Peter Miller show in the $150,000 Grade 3 Daytona Stakes, as his three stars never gave the rest of them a chance with Conquest Tsunami heading a 1-2-3 finish with Stormy Liberal coming in second and Calculator coming in third.
Conquest Tsunami went quickly for the early lead setting the pace, and then kicked clear under a strong hand ride while being shown the whip in the last stages of the race. 2017 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Stormy Liberal stalked the leaders while being a bit wide into the stretch, and had to settle for second. Slight post time favorite Calculator stalked the pace, but could do no better than third.
“There was just one way to go,” said Espinoza, who was aboard the 6-year-old Stormy Atlantic gelding for the first time. “I broke in front and kept my position all the way to the wire. For him the main thing is to let him go and just run his race. I felt he was going pretty quick but he was doing it so easily, so I was pretty much a passenger.
“I just wanted to make sure he crossed the dirt okay and then let him really run in the stretch. “…This is obviously the first time I’ve been on him, but he’s pretty amazing. It takes nothing away from the other two horses who ran second and third…but he was much the best today.”
The win for Conquest Tsunami comes on the heels of a January 20th allowance victory in his first try over the downhill turf course. That allowance race set up almost identically to this one. Conquest Tsunami jumped out to the early lead, and never looked back.
After the race trainer Peter Miller was delighted, as expected, with his top three runners.
“Unbelievable, they all showed up, they got three great rides, and we’ve got three great owners,” said Miller, who worked for the legendary Whittingham in the mid-1980s. “This race kind of went to plan…Maybe Stormy Liberal was a little further back than I would have liked, but for his first race since Hong Kong (an 11 length defeat in the six furlong turf, Grade I Hong Kong Sprint on Dec. 10), I thought he ran well. All three of them ran super.”
Conquest Tsunami returned $12.40 to win, $5,80 to place, and $3.20 to show. Stormy Liberal brought back $3.60 to place and $2.40 to show, while Calculator returned $2.40 to show.