She loves it at the Spa. Got Stormy blew into Saratoga on Saturday with a gleam in her eye, a spring in her step, at home in her happy place, and consummated the relationship with her second success in the $500,000 Grade 1 Fourstardave Handicap over the turf mile, and her third from four starts here
The six-year-old mare won the Fourstardave in 2019 and was second last year, and emulated the grand old stager who lends his name to the race, who is buried on the backstretch, with a repeat victory. Got Stormy sat in third behind the pace set by Blowout, and when that rival blew out at the top of the stretch she was in the perfect spot to take advantage.
She was in front at the sixteenth pole and drew off under Tyler Gaffalione in the closing stages to win by a length and a half from the late-closing Set Piece, with Casa Creed a half-length back in third. The time was a tick over 1:33 on fast turf, a second outside the track record she set in the Fourstardave two years ago.
“They wrote her off,” said trainer Mark Casse, alluding to the mare’s payoff of $27. “I’m really proud. There have been some bumps along the road with her, but she came through when it was time. She loves it here.”
The Fourstardave is ‘win-and-you’re-in’ for the Breeders’ Cup Mile, but that event is at Del Mar this year. If it were run at Saratoga, Got Stormy would surely be a leading contender, but connections needn’t be too downhearted. The mare has a perfect record at the seaside track, 1-1 after winning the Grade 1 Matriarch in 2019; it isn’t Saratoga, but Del Mar will do.
High Oak Won The G2 Saratoga Special
High Oak hasn’t had time to demonstrate his preferences, but he evidently likes it at Saratoga given his rousing performance in the $200,000 Grade 2 Saratoga Special, for two-year-olds over six and a half furlongs on the main track.
The Bill Mott-trained youngster won at Belmont on his debut and stepped right up to the plate here, keeping tabs on the fast pace set by Gunite and Doctor Jeff before joining issue at the three-sixteenth pole. He was in front a furlong out and made it look easy after that, stopping the clock in 1:16 and one-half, winning by four and a quarter lengths from the game Gunite, with Nakatomi three and a quarter lengths further back in third.
“He was sharp today. To be honest, I was just a passenger today,” said winning rider Junior Alvarado. “He put me in the spot that I wanted and he took me all the way around. Even he wasn’t going as fast as he can go, he was pretty happy there. When I turned for home, I just had to ask him a little bit and he took off.”
The next stop for High Oak, which was worth $22.40 at the windows; could be the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont in October, which offers a paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
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