'Stormy' Outlook in the Poker


Got Stormy winning the GI Matriarch S. | Benoit

The only female in Belmont's GIII Poker S. field Saturday, Gary Barber's Got Stormy (Get Stormy) enters the eight-furlong test packing top credentials as one of only two Grade I winners in the field of nine. Victorious in last summer's De La Rose S. against fillies at Saratoga, she returned a week later to score by 2 1/2 lengths over the boys in the GI Fourstardave H. Not ducking anyone when second in the GI Woodbine Mile and GI Breeders' Cup Mile last fall, she came from off the pace to take the Dec. 1 GI Matriarch S. at Del Mar. Winless in three starts this season, Got Stormy's best effort came when second by a neck in the GI Frank E. Kilroe Mile Santa Anita Mar. 7. Last out, she ran fourth in the June 3 GIII Beaugay when chasing frontrunning Rushing Fall off a near three-month layoff at Belmont.

“The California race was very good,” said trainer Mark Casse. “Her last race was disappointing, but we took her out of her element. There was no speed in the race and we tried to keep her closer and that was to her demise. We won't do that again, we'll let her settle.”

Got Stormy scratched out of last Saturday's GI Just a Game after persistent rainstorms soaked the Belmont green. Casse said he made the call after watching Monkeyseemonkeydo (Twirling Candy) win a seven-furlong turf maiden June 27 in 1:24.15.

“After watching them run seven-eighths in :24 and change, I said this turf is not for us,” explained Casse. “She didn't get really good until last summer and her best races are on hard ground. I think the soft turf got her beat in the Woodbine Mile and she was just beat by a better horse at the Breeders' Cup.”

“We're just trying to find her top form and I believe it has to do with a harder turf course,” added Casse. “She won't get it this weekend at Belmont, but she also likes the sharper turns at Saratoga and Santa Anita because she has a quick turn of foot when you ask her to go.”

Trainer Chad Brown is responsible for the only other Grade I winner in the Poker field, Valid Point (Scat Daddy), who will be accompanied by stablemate Value Proposition (GB) (Dansili {GB}) in the gate Saturday. Owned by eFive Racing Thoroughbreds and Michael J. Ryan, Valid Point won his first three career starts, including a one-length score in the GI Secretariat S. at Arlington last August. The colt completed his 3-year-old campaign with an off-the-board effort in October in the GI Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland. Klaravich Stables' Value Proposition recorded a career-best 100 Beyer Speed Figure last out when capturing an optional-claiming turf mile at Belmont June 3. Hall of Famer Javier Castellano will pilot Valid Point from post 2 while Value Proposition will exit post 9 under Irad Ortiz, Jr.

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