Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint Winner Stormy Liberal Makes 2018 Debut Saturday in Daytona Stakes at Santa Anita
Photo credit: Eclipse Sportswire
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 23, 2018) – Rockingham Ranch’s 6-year-old gelding Stormy Liberal, upset winner of the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1), is scheduled to make his first start of the year Saturday against six rivals in the about 6 ½-furlong, Daytona Stakes (G3) on turf at Santa Anita Park.
Trained by Peter Miller and ridden by Joel Rosario, Stormy Liberal will break from the seventh post position as the 2-1 favorite in the Daytona. On Tuesday at Del Mar, the Kentucky-bred son of Stormy Atlantic worked three furlongs on the dirt in 37.20. This will be his first start since finishing 11th in last December’s Longines Hong Kong Sprint (G1) at Sha Tin. Stormy Liberal defeated stablemate Richard’s Boy by a head at 30-1 in last year’s five-furlong $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Del Mar.
Stormy Liberal is slated to be the fourth winner from the 2017 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Del Mar to race this year, with the first three coming back victorious in their seasonal bows.
Last year’s TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) winner Roy H, owned by Rockingham Ranch and David Bernson, and trained by Miller, made a successful 2018 debut with a 3 ½-length victory in the six-furlong Palos Verdes Handicap (G2) at Santa Anita on Feb. 3. Miller indicated this week that the 6-year-old gelding would be pointed next to the Santa Anita’s seven-furlong Triple Bend Stakes (G1) on March 10 in preparation for the Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) at Meydan Race Course on March 31.
One week after Roy H’s win, Live Oak Plantation’s 6-year-old gelding World Approval, the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) winner and Champion Turf Horse, captured his first start of 2018 by taking the 1 1/16-mile Tampa Bay Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs by a half-length for trainer Mark Casse, who indicated that the Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1) at Santa Anita on March 10 would be the next start for World Approval.
The 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner and Horse of the Year, Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm’s Gun Runner, was the first Breeders’ Cup champion to return to the races this year, and went out a winner in his final career start. Gun Runner, a 5-year-old son of Candy Ride (ARG), trained by Steve Asmussen, won the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus World Cup (G1) at Gulfstream Park by 2 ½ lengths on Jan. 27. He is now standing stud at Three Chimneys.
Among the other 2017 Breeders’ Cup champions closing in on first starts of 2018 is Charles Fipke’s Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) winner and Older Dirt Female champion Forever Unbridled. Trained by Dallas Stewart, the 6-year-old bay mare is in training for the Dubai World Cup on March 31. Forever Unbridled breezed six furlongs in 1:12.40 at the Fair Grounds on Feb. 16.
In training at Palm Meadows in Florida for his 3-year-old debut on the Kentucky Derby trail is e Five Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stable’s Good Magic. The 2017 Sentient Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner and Champion 2-year-old, Good Magic, trained by Chad Brown, has been nominated to the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park on March 10.
Another star of e Five Thoroughbreds is Rushing Fall, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) winner, who is also trained by Brown. The bay 3-year-old daughter of More Than Ready could make her 2018 debut this spring at Keeneland in the one-mile Appalachian Stakes (G2) on turf. Rushing Fall breezed three furlongs in 38.20 on the main track on Feb. 17 at Palm Meadows.
Last year’s 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner and Champion 2-year old filly, Caledonia Road, returned to the workout tab Wednesday following surgery to remove chips in her right front ankle. The 3-year-old daughter of Quality Road, owned by Zoom and Fish Stable, Charlie Spiring and Newtown Anner Stud, breezed three furlongs in 38.45 at Palm Meadows.
About Breeders' Cup
The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s year-end Championships. The Breeders’ Cup also administers the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The 2018 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 races (13 Grade 1 events) with purses and awards totaling more than $30 million, will be held November 2-3 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., and will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup website, www.breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
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