Storm the Court makes his three-year-old debut Sunday in the San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita, a race Peter Eurton hopes will lead to the Kentucky Derby on May 2.
If so, it would mark only the second starter in the Run for the Roses in the trainer's successful career of just over three decades. In 2014, Blue Grass Stakes winner Dance With Fate finished sixth in the first leg of the Triple Crown.
Storm the Court has already exceeded expectations of most in the racing world, winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita last Nov. 1 at odds of nearly 46-1, a victory that ultimately earned him an Eclipse Award as outstanding two-year-old male of 2019.
“We're looking forward to Sunday,” Eurton said of the Grade II San Vicente, to be decided at seven furlongs. “The horse is doing well and this looks like a good spot for his first race back.
“We're excited and after this, hopefully we'll plan on the second, but it's first things first.”
Storm the Court is the second Eclipse champion conditioned by the 62-year-old Eurton, a former jockey whose stepfather was trainer Steve Ippolito. A native of Alhambra, California, Eurton trained Champagne Room, who earned an Eclipse Award in 2016 after posting a 33-1 upset in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.
Eurton, who made what is believed to be Santa Anita history by saddling eight consecutive winners at the 2012 Winter/Spring meet, enjoyed his best season for purse earnings in 2016 with $4,235,430.
Storm the Court has been working smartly for his return and should be forwardly placed if not on the lead in the San Vicente.
“He's quick,” Eurton said of the bay Court Vision colt who led throughout in the 1 1/16-mile Breeders' Cup Juvenile while wearing blinkers for the first time.
He will once again be ridden by last year's Kentucky Derby winner Flavien Prat, the jockey in all four of his 2019 starts.
The San Vicente, race 7 of 8, with a 12:30 p.m. first post time: Fast Enough, Tiago Pereira, 12-1; Ra'ad, Drayden Van Dyke, 8-1; Party Town, Jorge Velez, 20-1, Nadal, Joel Rosario, 4-5, Storm the Court, Flavien Prat, 9-5, and Ginobili, Abel Cedillo, 5-1.
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