ELMONT, NY – Gary Barber’s Got Stormy is displayed a strong turn of foot on Saturday, finding a new gear at the top of the stretch before kicking away and sailing off to victory in the $100,000 Wild Applause Stakes at Belmont Park.
Breaking cleanly from the outside post under John Velazquez as the 8-5 favorite in the five-filly field, Got Stormy settled just off the hip of early pacesetter Lady Suebee through opening splits of :24.59, :48.91, and 1:12.30. Beginning to advance along the leader through the far turn, Got Stormy straightened out for the stretch run and exploded away from the field. Under confident handling, the Mark Casse trainee hit the wire first by 2 easy lengths in a final time of 1:34.93 for the mile-long event over the Widener turf course.
“It worked out perfect,” Velazquez said. “(Casse assistant) Jamie (Begg) and I were talking before the race and there was only one speed (Lady Suebee). The two Chad Brown horses were going to try to take back and make one move and the other one (Ferdinanda) had a little bit of speed, but I assumed that they were probably going to take that one back. When I broke in front of (Ferdinanda), she kind of took back, so I just sat second behind the other horse. I tried to get her to relax and finish down the lane, and that’s what she did. She finished up very good. Very impressive. She was explosive down the lane. Maybe if she settles more through the first part of the race, she can be really, really good.”
A pair of Chad Brown trainees dueled closely for second, with Punked defeating Brattata by a 1/2-length. Ferdinanda took fourth after failing to fire in the stretch, while Lady Suebee, the field’s third Brown runner, faded to fifth. Mo Smart and Takechargedelilah were scratched as Main Track Only entries.
Got Stormy’s victory was her second straight stakes score following last month’s $200,000 Penn Oaks, where she employed a similar devastating turn of foot at the top of the stretch to secure victory. The 3-year-old daughter of Get Stormy improved her overall record to 7-3-0-2 with career earnings of $226,925.
“There wasn’t a whole lot of speed in the race,” Begg said. “We thought we’d be sitting a little farther back, but Johnny said before the race that (Ferdinanda) might get taken back. So, when I saw Got Stormy sitting up front, I was (concerned). But when I saw the fractions, I thought it was a decent spot for her because she does have a little kick. I was pretty confident at that point that she’d kick back.”
Got Stormy returned $5.40 to win, $3.10 to place, and $2.20 to show. Puinked brought back $3.50 to place and $2.50 to show, while Brattata paid $2.90 to show.