Stormy Liberal Looks to Three-Peat in Turf Sprint
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Article Courtesy of Aaron Halterman of the Thoroughbred Racing Dudes
Stormy Liberal comes into this event looking for his third straight Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint win. This may be his toughest challenge yet, as he has not won since this race last season. In total, 12 horses have entered this year’s edition, plus two also-eligibles. The race will be contested on Saturday, November 2, at Santa Anita Park and will cover 5 furlongs for a purse of $1,000,000.
The full field from the rail out includes:
#1 Totally Boss – After winning four of five races this season, it’s time for him to give elite company a shot. He picked up his first stakes win two starts back at Ellis Park in the Kentucky Downs Preview Turf Sprint Stakes, which led to a victory last time out at Kentucky Downs in the Runhappy Turf Sprint Stakes (G3).
#2 Pure Sensation – This 8-year-old gelding seems to be running better than ever, winning four of his five starts this season. He kicked off 2019 with an allowance win at Gulfstream Park before winning two stakes in a row, including the Parx Dash (G3) by 4 1/4 lengths. Most recently, he shipped back to Parx to win the Turf Monster Stakes (G3) by 3 lengths.
#3 Imprimis – Earlier in the year, this sprinter picked up one of the more impressive wins in this division. After falling to his knees at the start, he still fought hard to win the Shakertown Stakes (G2) at Keeneland. Following that victory, he finished sixth in the King’s Stand Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot. Since then, he has finished fourth in the Runnhappy Turf Sprint Stakes (G3) at Kentucky Downs and third in the Woodford Stakes (G2) at Keeneland.
#4 Shekky Shebaz – Since changing trainers to Jason Servis, this horse has shown marked improvement. He won the Lucky Coin Stakes at Saratoga two starts back before finishing second in the Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational last time out. Those two races show that he can be competitive when facing some of the top-class horses in this division.
#5 Stubbins – He has steadily improved all year long and earned his first graded stakes score last time out at Keeneland in the Woodford Stakes (G2). That victory was his first win since February, when he won three straight at Santa Anita Park, including two turf sprints.
#6 Stormy Liberal – The Peter Miller-trained horse will be looking for his third straight win in this event. However, it is important to note that he has failed to win in six starts this season. He has hit the board in five of those, so he’s not that far off of last year’s form. Last time out, he was third in the Eddie D. Stakes (G2) over this race track.
#7 Leinster – This Majestic Warrior colt won three straight earlier this year, ending in the Troy Stakes (G3) at Saratoga over a stellar field. After that race, he was third in the Runhappy Turf Sprint Stakes (G3) at Kentucky Downs before finishing second in the Woodford Stakes (G2) at Keeneland last time out.
#8 Legends of War – This colt comes into the race hot, winning two straight contests. Two starts back, he defeated allowance company at Del Mar by a nose, then shipped to Kentucky Downs and took home the Nevada State Bank Franklin-Simpson Stakes (G3) by 1 3/4 lengths.
#9 Final Frontier – After winning the Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational Stakes last time out, this is the logical next step. Overall, he has won two of four this season, with his other victory coming in an allowance event at Saratoga. This jump up in class will be the most difficult test of his career.
#10 Eddie Haskell – He has been one of the most consistent turf sprinters on the California circuit this season. He has won four of eight races this year, including a local win in the Daytona Stakes (G3), and has never finished off the board since trainer Mark Glatt claimed him in April of 2018. He comes into this race off of two runner-up efforts against tough company in the Green Flash Handicap (G3) at Del Mar and the Eddie D Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita.
#11 Om – He’ll make his first appearance off of a four-month layoff after winning an allowance event at Churchill Downs in his last start. The last time that this race was held at Santa Anita Park, he finished second by a nose.
#12 Belvoir Bay – This 6-year-old mare will make the start here off of a five-month layoff. When last seen, she was fourth against males in the Jaipur Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park, losing by only 3 lengths against a tough field. She has six wins in nine local appearances, including the 2018 San Simeon Stakes (G3) against males.
Also Eligible: #13 Girls Know Best, #14 Double Touch
This race is unique because the two-time defending champion is not going to be anywhere near the favorite. That makes this wide-open event a tough handicapping challenge. These elite turf sprinters should stop the clock well under a minute as they cross the wire.
For more coverage of the 2019 Breeders’ Cup, head over to racingdudes.com.
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