Gary Barber's Got Stormy will look to get back to winning ways in Thursday's $150,000 Winter Memories, part of a stakes-laden Thanksgiving card, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by Mark Casse, the Get Stormy chestnut enjoyed a spectacular run of form this summer when travelling a mile on the turf, winning the Penn Oaks, the Wild Applause at Belmont Park and the Grade 3 Ontario Colleen at Woodbine with prominent trips.
The talented filly was expected to take her roadshow to California for the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks, until the plan was derailed through illness. Following a three-month layoff, Got Stormy returned to action on October 13 at Belmont in the Pebbles but failed to handle the soft going when seventh.
“Unfortunately, she was supposed to go to California (for the Del Mar Oaks) and she got sick and that's why she didn't run for a while,” said Casse. “She trained really well up to her last race, but just didn't handle the turf. She's trained really well again up to this race, but we'll have to see what the turf is like. We're going to monitor how the turf is coming up to the race and see what happens. If it's really soft, she probably won't run.”
With four wins from eight starts, Casse holds Got Stormy in high regard and cites her good gate speed as a significant weapon for pilot Jose Ortiz as the filly squares off against a talented field of 11 in the 1 1/16-mile inner turf test for sophomore fillies.
“I think anytime you can be a little more forwardly placed, it allows you to control the race more than the race controlling you,” said Casse. “She's got some gas, so she can be on the lead or close to it. Ultimately, when you have a horse that can do that, it gives them a better trip. She's a filly we took our time with and I think she's gotten better and better. It's unfortunate she got sick, but now we have to get her back into place.”
Trainer Chad Brown, who won this event last year with Rymska, will saddle the formidable duo of Competitionofideas and Significant Form.
Competitionofideas, a dark bay daughter of Speightstown, will make her stakes debut on a two-race win streak, both over 1 1/16-miles of good Belmont turf, that includes her graduation on September 7 and an allowance score on October 21. Never worse than fourth in five career starts, the improving filly, owned by Klaravich Stables and out of the graded stakes winning dam Devil by Design, will leave from post three under regular rider Javier Castellano.
Significant Form, a Creative Cause grey owned by Stephanie Seymour Brant, won the Grade 3 Miss Grillo in just her second career start ahead of a solid fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. She launched her sophomore campaign with a victory in the Memories Of Silver at Aqueduct before a trio of graded races finishing second in the Grade 3 Wonder Again, fourth in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational and fifth last out in the Grade 2 Lake Placid. Irad Ortiz, Jr. will ride from post 11 as Significant Form returns to the scene of her most recent win.
Shug McGaughey captured the inaugural Winter Memories in 2016 with My Impression and he believes he's in good position for a second win with Stuart S. Janney III's Romantic Moment.
“I'm really looking forward to running her. Her first two races have been good races and she's trained on really well from there. I don't think a soft turf will hurt her and if they take it off, she'd be fine on dirt too,” said McGaughey.
The dark bay daughter of Flatter graduated on February 19 over 1 1/8-miles of firm Gulfstream Park turf and followed that up with a front-running score over nine furlongs of yielding Keeneland green on April 16. Romantic Moment was compromised at the break of her graded stakes debut in the Grade 3 Regret, finishing last of 13, but has shown a return to form with a pair of on-the-board efforts in optional claiming events on the Belmont turf. Hall of Famer John Velazquez will ride from post 10.
“She's training really well, and I think she's on the right track,” said McGaughey.
Capla Temptress is seeking her first win since capturing the Grade 1 Natalma at Woodbine on September 17, 2017 when besting a field that included Dixie Moon and Wonder Gadot.
The Lope de Vega bay has raced six times since, including a strong fourth defeated less than a length in the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches at Longchamp, with her best result coming in the Grade 2 Lake Placid when second behind Rushing Fall. She arrives at the Winter Memories from a fifth-place run in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland. Joel Rosario has the call from post eight.
Semper Sententiae, Bellerue, Andina Del Sur, Queen of Connaught, Souper Striking, Kreesie and main-track only entrant Matty's Magnum complete the field.
Race seven on Thursday's lucrative holiday card is the $100,000 Central Park, a 1 1/16-miles outer turf test for juveniles headed by the Todd Pletcher-trained duo of Empire of War and Good Good.
Empire of War is undefeated on the turf in two attempts with a maiden score over a good Belmont turf on October 6 and an impressive half-length win over a yielding Aqueduct lawn on November 4 when making his stakes debut.
“It's back a little quick, but he's shown good energy since his last race. We're looking forward to trying again and hopefully on the turf,” said Pletcher.
The bay son of Declaration of War, out of Shehadmefromhello, is a half-brother to multiple graded stakes winner Separationofpowers. After making his first two starts on the dirt, Empire of War switched riders to Manny Franco and surface to turf and has improved with each outing including a lofty 80 Beyer Speed Figure in winning the Awad. Franco retains the mount from post five.
Calumet Farm homebred Good Good graduated on debut in a five-furlong sprint on the Gulfstream Park main on June 30. The Quality Road bay then moved to turf for his stakes debut when third in the Skidmore on August 17 at Saratoga, ahead of a disappointing ninth in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile on September 1. Freshened following that outing, Good Good has posted a number of works including a four-furlong effort in 50 seconds flat on November 15 over the Belmont training track. Luis Saez will ride from post six.
Stakes winners Wallace and Order and Law will provide stiff competition in the inaugural running of the Central Park.
Trained by Kelsey Danner for Nancy Pierce, Wallace won third time out at Presque Isle Downs when sprinting on the synthetic main track. The Run Away and Hide gelding then shipped to Woodbine to finish fourth in the Victoria before capturing the Soaring Free in his turf debut over a yielding E.P. Taylor Turf Course. After failing to threaten in the Grade 1 Summer at Woodbine, Wallace then shipped to Aqueduct to land third in the off-the-turf Atlantic Beach. Rajiv Maragh will retain the mount from post four.
Order and Law, trained by Louis Linder for Bran Jam Stable and David Clark, graduated at first asking with a dramatic nose score in the Laurel Futurity over yielding ground. The Violence bay then shipped to Aqueduct and rallied from last of seven to finish fourth in the aforementioned Awad. Feargal Lynch returns to pilot Order and Law from the inside post.
Maiden winners Five Star General, Market Bubble and Doups Point complete the field.
Gates will open at 10 a.m. at Aqueduct on Thursday through Saturday. First post on Thanksgiving Thursday's nine-race card is 11:50 a.m.
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