Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Storm the Court (by Court Vision) went a half-mile “handily” in :48 4/5 at Santa Anita on Dec. 22, and that effort marked the first work for the bay colt since his big victory on Nov. 1 at Santa Anita.
In the interim, the colt who finished a head second to Storm the Court in the Juvenile, Anneau d'Or (Medaglia d'Oro), came back and finished a very good second to Thousand Words (Pioneerof the Nile) in the Los Alamitos Futurity, beaten a neck, and neither of the two favorites for the Juvenile, Three Rings (Empire Maker) and Dennis' Moment (Tiznow) has raced since.
As a result, the divisional champion is going to be chosen from colts with one major victory on their records, and the finalists will be announced Jan. 4.
One of many interested parties awaiting the results of the championship voting is owner-breeder Jim Power, who bred Storm the Court in the name of his Stepping Stone Farm and sold him as a short yearling at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton February mixed sale for $5,000 to Bryan Rice, who then took the colt and resold him at the 2019 Ocala Breeders' Sales April auction for $60,000 to Exline-Border Racing.
In a recent conversation, Power said that “I've known the Rice family for decades, since I got to know Clyde Rice back in the late 1970s. Bryan was the only one who came by the barn to look at this colt twice, and I needed to sell him because I'd bought back a pair of fillies already.”
Bred on a profit-sharing arrangement with Spendthrift Farm that allowed breeders who had bred to Court Vision to keep the first $6,000 of the sales proceeds, Storm the Court wasn't a total loss for Power with a hammer price of $5,000. In large part, Power's recovery of those costs is due to his arrangement with Spendthrift. They wouldn't receive any money for the stud fee until the bidding passed the $6,000; then the stallion operation would get the auction proceeds till the bidding exceeded a set point, typically $12,000 for a stud fee of this range.
Power said, “This was a really nice colt; clean-legged, good conformation, and I told Bryan, 'I know you're a good trainer, and I'd like to get him sold and into good hands.'” Rice bought, and the May foal turned out very well for the pinhooker. Racing a quarter-mile at the April sale in :21 2/5, Storm the Court showed a stride length of slightly more than 25 feet and earned a BreezeFig speed figure rating of 67, which was quite respectable.
The colt showed a good stride length and was speeding up through the work; both are indicators of ability to go two turns, and Storm the Court showed immediate ability in his racing, winning his debut at Del Mar on Aug. 10 and racing the 5 ½ furlongs in 1:05.17.
In his second start, the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity, Storm the Court was bumped by Eight Rings at the start, and both jockeys came off. In his third start, Storm the Court was third in the G1 American Pharoah, won by Eight Rings by six lengths from American Theorem (American Pharoah), with Storm the Court 2 ¼ lengths farther back.
Gamblers weren't looking to erase that 8 ¼ length difference in the Juvenile, where Eight Rings started the second favorite at 1.5 to 1 and Storm the Court was 45.9 to 1.
Power, however, was watching the American Pharoah carefully and thought that the colt he bred had appeared hesitant coming into the stretch, hadn't seemed confident in “being out there and not getting knocked down,” Power said. “Then the jock came back and told [trainer] Peter [Eurton] that Storm the Court was looking around almost the whole time, and Peter had the perceptiveness to take the initiative and put the blinkers on the horse for the Juvenile. To me, that made the difference.”
Power's attention to the colt he bred is natural. In addition to his pride in raising a good horse, Power has bred the last three generations of the family. From third dam Sarah's Hope (Riva Ridge), Power bred the stakes-placed A Taste of Wine (Settlement Day) and his full sister Sarah's Settlement, the dam of seven winners, including My Tejana Storm (Tejano), a winner of three races and $47,430. She is now the dam of Storm the Court.
In assessing My Tejana Storm, Power is matter of fact: “I knew that the pedigree needed Mr. Prospector, and the mare also needed some refinement. She's real plain, ok, ugly, and Court Vision had the quality that the mare needed.” The result of this pragmatic mating is now a G1 winner.
In addition, My Tejana Storm is also dam of the US Ranger (Danzig) mare Belleoftheprairie, a winner of four races who earned $109,071. Power said, “Next year I might breed her to Court Vision. I'm breeding a Grindstone mare to him this year in Louisiana,” where the Gulch stallion is now standing at stud.
Frank Mitchell is author of Racehorse Breeding Theories, as well as the book Great Breeders and Their Methods: The Hancocks. In addition to writing the column “Sires and Dams” in Daily Racing Form for nearly 15 years, he has contributed articles to Thoroughbred Daily News, Thoroughbred Times, Thoroughbred Record, International Thoroughbred, and other major publications. In addition, Frank is chief of biomechanics for DataTrack International and is a hands-on caretaker of his own broodmares and foals in Central Kentucky. Check out Frank's lively Bloodstock in the Bluegrass blog.
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