'Stormy' Forecast Ahead in Fourstardave


Trainer Mark Casse says that MGISW Got Stormy blossoms every summer at Saratoga. | Sarah Andrew


The contingent behind MGISW Got Stormy (Get Stormy) has been carefully monitoring the weather this week as the 6-year-old turf specialist prepares for her third appearance in Saratoga's GI Fourstardave H. Possible scattered overnight thunderstorms leading up to Saturday's card could soften the turf more than the fan-favorite mare would prefer.

“For a horse named Got Stormy, she doesn't like much rain,” her recently inducted Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse said. “If the turf gets soft on Saturday, a mile is stretching her distance ability. We'll see what happens, but we're keeping our fingers crossed.”

Got Stormy became the first female in history to win the mile-long Breeders' Cup “Win and You're In” Challenge in 2019, besting MGISW Raging Bull (Fr) (Dark Angel {Ire}), one of the expected favorites in this year's edition of the race, as well as eventual Eclipse champion Uni (GB) (More Than Ready) on the firm turf. Her win in 1:32 flat was a course-record time.

During last year's renewal of the event over a softer course, Got Stormy finished second just over a length behind wire-to-wire victor Halladay (War Front).

“Last year we weren't supposed to get rain and the morning of the race, it stormed,” Casse recalled. “There was a little give in the ground and it probably cost her the race.”

Later last year, a day after finishing fifth in the GI Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, Got Stormy sold for $2.75 million at the 2020 Fasig-Tipton November Sale to Spendthrift Farm. Now co-owned by My Racehorse Stable, the chestnut returned this year with a score in the GIII Honey Fox S. followed by a pair of disappointing fifth-place finishes in the GII Longines Churchill Distaff Turf Mile S. and GI Jackpot Jaipur S.

Her recent absence from the winner's circle is not a big concern for Casse, who believes the mare has blossomed since her return to the Spa last month.

“I see a lot of similarities from last year to this year,” he said. “She struggled a little bit before she got to Saratoga last year and then she ran a great race in the Fourstardave. She gets better in the summer and fall. I think a lot of it has to do with how she loves training here and she tends to blossom at Saratoga.”

He continued, “Tyler Gaffalione worked her [on Aug. 1] and he came back with a big smile and said, 'She's back.' So if Tyler is happy, I'm happy. Looking at the race, one of the things she likes is to have a target. There seems to be a fair amount of speed and it's something she hasn't gotten recently, so it should play out well.”

Raging Bull (inside) worked in company with three-time Grade I winner Domestic Spending (GB) (Kingman {GB}) on Aug. 8. | Sarah Andrew

Got Stormy will face a field of seven other rivals on Saturday.

Raging Bull, the 2019 second-place finisher, made his six-year-old debut at Keeneland this spring with a two-length victory in the GI Maker's Mark Mile S. The three-time Grade I winner and Chad Brown pupil enters Saturday's race following a nail-biting close second to Oleksandra (Aus) (Animal Kingdom) in the GIII Poker S.

“He's still going strong at age six and he's really doing as well as he's ever done,” said Brown, who has yet to win the prestigious Grade I turf contest. “His race at Keeneland was dynamite-one of his best ever. Last time out, he just got in some trouble and was kind of stuck inside. Hopefully he has a better trip this time.”

Fellow Chad Brown-trained, Peter Brant-owned entry Blowout (GB) (Dansili {GB}) looks to get the lead early, but will have to do so from the eight hole. The 5-year-old mare made it to the winner's circle in the GII Churchill Distaff Turf Mile S. in her only start this year.

Brown explained that the speedy Blowout is not in the race to set up Raging Bull.

“She has a little bit of a layoff to overcome, but she's very dangerous if she gets to the front and has things her way,” Brown said. “She should be setting the pace but make no mistake, she's in the race to win. If she can get around there on an easy pace, I'm fine with that. I don't want to get beat by a horse that is loose on the lead either. If someone wins loose on the lead, it's going to be her.”

Other top considerations in the field include Set Piece (GB) (Dansili {GB}), who has gone undefeated in his last three starts at Churchill Downs this year for Brad Cox and was last seen besting a 10-horse field in the GII Wise Dan S. on June 26., as well as Casa Creed (Jimmy Creed), who also enters coming off a win in the GI Jackpot Jaipur S. for trainer Bill Mott.

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