Having become the first female winner of the Grade 1 Fourstardave at Saratoga last year, the Mark Casse-trained Got Stormy will attempt to defend her crown in the $400,000 contest this weekend.
If she’s going to do it, the daughter of Get Stormy must bring her ‘A-game’ according to her trainer as she returns to Saratoga without a win in her last four starts.
Victory at Saratoga would also secure an automatic entry towards the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland in November.
If she can pull it off, Got Stormy will be the first back-to-back winner of the Fourstardave since dual Horse of the Year Wise Dan scored back to back victories in 2012-13.
Beaten three-and-a-half-lengths in the Grade 3 Poker at Belmont Park on her most recent start, Casse feels a return to Saratoga and a firm surface can assist in getting her back to her best.
“She’s training well and she’s back to Saratoga, which is where she did her best running last year, so we’re hoping for the best,” Casse said.
“We know she likes that course, we know that she likes firm turf. She’s got to come with her A-game. She’s the same horse, she looks great and trains great. She’s just been a little bit unlucky. She ran over some good turf courses and she wants it to be really firm.”
As always, Tyler Gaffalione will ride and they break from stall four. Got Stormy will take on reigning Champion Turf Female Uni in the Saratoga race and will have a score to settle.
They clashed in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita last season, with Uni holding off Got Stormy to win. Chad Brown’s charge comes into this race having finished third in the Grade 1 Just A Game on her previous start.
Brown could also run ex-UK performer Without Parole – by Frankel and a Group 1 winner at Royal Ascot in 2018 – as well as Valid Point, a colt by Scat Daddy in the Fourstardave.
Uni, who was third in last year’s Fourstardave, ran a pleasing third behind stablemate Newspaperofrecord at Belmont in June. She was named Champion Turf Female last year and connections are hopeful she’s now over some minor issues that may have been holding her back.
“She missed some time with a splint issue, and we stopped breezing for five or six weeks,” said Bradley Weisbord of BSW/Crow Bloodstock.
“She just had her best breeze of the year last week and we weren’t completely sure about this race,” Weisbord added.
“We were 50-50 between the Fourstardave and the Distaff Turf Mile at Churchill, but the breeze is what gave Chad [Brown, trainer] the confidence to run her, so she’s sitting on go.”