JockeyDrayden Van Dyke
OwnerRockingham Ranch and David A Bernsen LLC
BreederDapple Bloodstock & Gryphon Investments LLC
Stormy Liberal wore down pacesetter World of Trouble and won the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) for the second consecutive year on November 3 at Churchill Downs as part of the 35th Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
Stormy Liberal joined Mizdirection (2012, 2013) as the only two horses to win the Turf Sprint in back-to-back years.
With the repeat win, the 6-year-old Stormy Atlantic gelding was part of a unique double—a double-double—for owners Rockingham Ranch and David Bernsen and trainer Peter Miller as those connections also enjoyed yet another encore victory three races later with Roy H in the $2 million TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
The 7-1 third wagering choice to repeat in the lucrative 5 1/2-furlong Turf Sprint, Stormy Liberal scored by a neck from 2-1 favorite World of Trouble after a stretch-long duel. Disco Partner, third in last year’s race, was third again, 7 1/4 lengths adrift of World of Trouble in the full field of 14.
Stormy Liberal, who captured the 2017 edition by a head at 30-1 odds from stablemate Richard’s Boy, spurted out to lead early before World of Trouble took charge and laid down swift fractions of :22.50 and :45.83 for a half mile. Drayden Van Dyke settled Stormy Liberal in fourth then third and World of Trouble easily had the measure of Richard’s Boy, also returning this year, by more than a length through the turn.
“Angled out leaving the turn, Stormy Liberal rallied four wide, collared the favorite in midstretch, and battled that rival before pulling ahead in the final stride to get the win in 1:04.05 on rain-dampened turf.
Richard’s Boy tired to finish last under Paco Lopez, who later returned to capture the Sprint with Roy H. "He broke really sharp,” said winning jockey Van Dyke. “I knew there were a few who were going to be a little bit faster than me. I bided my time and let them get by me, then just tipped him outside. From there on, it was up to him to do the running. Stormy Liberal likes to hang on horses and not pass them, but he got him. It was awesome.” “The emotions and the highs and lows I have gone through in this game in the past year are indescribable,” said Miller, who lost horses due to a horrible fire at the San Luis training center late in 2017. “I am just thankful to be back here. It is amazing to win this race two years in a row with this horse. It is a dream come true.”
Stormy Liberal was voted Eclipse Award Champion Male Turf Horse of 2018.
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