Sitting just outside the spotlight early in the year, Got Stormy jumped to prominence in the turf mile division in August at Saratoga. The 4-year-old filly earned a spot in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile when taking home the “Win and You’re In” Grade 1 Fourstardave Handicap, just a week after scoring her first stakes victory of the year.
The Get Stormy daughter has quickly risen to the top of the turf mile division and looks to be a legitimate threat in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile. Let’s get to know her in this week's edition!
It took the flashy chestnut three starts to break her maiden, that victory coming early in 2018, her 3-year-old season, at Gulfstream Park. Got Stormy's connections obviously thought a lot about her from the very beginning, putting her in the listed Sanibel Island Stakes in her next start. She didn’t win, finishing a close third, but she did earn valuable black type while also convincing trainer Mark Casse to send her to the Grade 3 Edgewood Stakes at Churchill Downs on the 2018 Longines Kentucky Oaks undercard.
After finishing fourth behind Toinette, beaten by 1 ¼ lengths, Got Stormy was taken back down to compete against listed and Grade 3 company while she continued to develop. That move proved to be a smart one as the filly reeled off three consecutive victories, capped by a win in the Grade 3 Ontario Colleen Stakes at Woodbine on July 21.
After an active first half of 2018, Got Stormy seemed to go a bit off form at the end of the season. She had an excuse when running seventh in the Pebbles Stakes, facing soft turf for the first time, before a fifth-place finish in the Winter Memories Stakes in late November on dirt ended her season.
Got Stormy received a 3 ½-month break from the races before returning this year. She ran the best Equibase Speed Figure of her career up to this point when winning an allowance race at Gulfstream in early March and earning a 103.
She made a big step up in class in her next start when Casse entered her in the Grade 1 Coolmore Jenny Wiley Stakes, a race he’d won with his star mare Tepin in 2016. Got Stormy didn’t disgrace herself in the race when finishing third by 1 ½ lengths to Breeders’ Cup winner Rushing Fall at a 1 1/16-mile distance that is probably a bit too long for the miler.
Following the same path Tepin took, Got Stormy then went to the Grade 2 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile where she finished second behind Beau Recall by 1 ¼ lengths. But in her next start, she began catching attention.
Got Stormy returned to the listed level for the Aug. 3 Fasig-Tipton De La Rose Stakes after a three-month break to make her first start at Saratoga. After rating in fourth, four lengths off leader Desert Isle for most of the race, Tyler Gaffalione asked her to run. It didn’t take long for the filly to pull away and win by four lengths with something obviously left in the tank.
In a move not often seen in American stakes racing, Casse entered her in the Grade 1 Fourstardave Handicap just seven days later.
Ricardo Santana Jr. was on the filly for the race and let her settle near the front of the pack while Gidu set the pace about 10 lengths in front of everyone else. Gidu set a blistering pace up front, but it wasn’t enough to score a runaway win, and the field closed in on him as they entered the stretch. Made You Look was the first to wrangle the lead from the tiring pacesetter but that didn’t last for long, and Got Stormy rallied past to win by 2 ½ lengths over late closer Raging Bull.
Proving that she still had more than enough energy left after her start the previous week, Got Stormy stopped the clock in an eye-popping one minute and 32 seconds for the mile – a course record at Saratoga.
After her Fourstardave victory, Got Stormy returned to Canada to run in the Ricoh Woodbine Mile on Sept. 14. Running less than two lengths behind the leading Silent Poet, Got Stormy took over the lead early in the stretch but she wasn’t home free yet. Rallying along the inside, El Tormenta headed her then took over the lead win by half-length.
While Got Stormy finished second in the race, she did earn the biggest Equibase Speed Figure of her career when besting the 118 she earned in the Fourstardave by one point. That 119 figure puts her just one point behind Magic Wand, who has the top figure of any turf female this year thanks to her Grade 1 Arlington Million second-place effort, and Got Stormy's 119 is also second in the turf miler category behind El Tormenta’s 120 in the Woodbine Mile.
Got Stormy is by the popular Get Stormy, who won three Grade 1s in his career and finished second in two others in addition to posting a victory in the Fourstardave when the race was a Grade 2.
The bay horse ended his career with a third in the Fourstardave in 2012 and has proven to be a useful sire with four graded stakes winners to date.
Though he did win a Grade 1 at 1 1/8 miles, it isn’t surprising that the majority of Get Stormy’s stakes winners come at seven or eight furlongs. In fact, three of those four graded stakes winners have won a graded stakes within that distance range.
Got Stormy’s dam, Super Phoebe, by Malabar Gold, was a turf sprinter who won from 5 ½ to seven furlongs but did finish in the top four the three times she went farther. The mare is the dam of four winners from six foals to race with her third foal finishing third in the 2016 Regret Stakes at six furlongs on dirt.
While Super Phoebe was a turf horse like her daughter, the family is heavy with class on dirt. Super Phoebe is a half-sister (same sire [father], different dam [mother]) to Grade 2 Ohio Derby winner and Grade 1 Florida Derby and Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap runner-up Smooth Air and Grade 2 Sanford Stakes winner Overdriven.
Got Stormy's pedigree is admittedly dirt leaning – as she's the only major turf horse in the first four generations – but it is a quality pedigree. In addition to Smooth Air and Overdriven, the pedigree also boosts Grade 2 winners Justwhistledixie and Chace City. If Justwhistledixie sounds like a familiar name, she is also the dam of Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner New Year’s Day – the sire of Maximum Security – and Grade 2 winner Mohaymen.
Overall, Got Stormy is one of the best turf milers in North America this fall, if not the best. Having run in three stakes races in a little over a month – and scoring a record-breaking Grade 1 win – she was entitled to get a little tired in the Woodbine Mile, so that doesn’t worry me about her chances at the Breeders’ Cup.
The bigger worry could be who she faces shipping in from Europe, with six-time Group 1 winner Laurens and two-time Group 1-winning 3-year-old Circus Maximus among the Europeans whose connections have mentioned the Breeders’ Cup as potential end-of-season targets.
But if any trainer knows how to get a horse to the Breeders’ Cup Mile in good form, it is Mark Casse. He has won the race twice in the last four years (Tepin in 2015 and World Approval in 2017) and also has a second-place finish in the 2016 Mile.
If you need even more confidence that Got Stormy has a strong chance in this race, Americans have won six of the last eight runnings of the Mile. That is the co-second strongest record for U.S.-based horses in the Breeders’ Cup turf races over the past eight years (tied with the Juvenile Fillies Turf) behind the Turf Sprint.