Overlooked by the public, Nasty Storm surprised favorites Raging Fever and Shine Again in Sunday's $150,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares at Belmont Park.
Nasty Storm, ridden by Jose Santos, defeated Raging Fever by a length, with Shine Again another length back. The winning time for the 6 1/2 furlongs was 1:17.89.
The 4-year-old filly by Gulch laid off the pace set by Harmony Lodge and Raging Fever of :22 2/5, :45 2/5 and 1:10 4/5. Nasty Storm collared Raging Fever in the stretch and appeared to have the race well in hand. But Raging Fever, at the rail, fought back until the finish. Shine Again ran along late for third.
Nasty Storm had lost by 14 lengths to Shine Again and Raging Fever in the Ballerina (gr. I) at Saratoga Aug. 25.
Dallas Stewart trained the winner for partners Denny Crum, Daryl Elser and R. McDonald.
"We wanted to give her a chance to redeem herself," said Stewart. "She was training good at Saratoga, but didn't run any good up there. We wanted to come back to New York and roll the dice one more time. The race unfolded perfectly for her. She has good tactical speed and Jose (Santos) put her right there and gave her every chance."
"The race really setup for us," he said. "I knew Harmony Lodge had to go and Raging Fever had the rail. We had a great trip behind them."
John Velazquez, aboard Raging Fever, said the rail compromised her chances.
"She ran her race, but we never got a chance to relax," he said. "She dug in, but the winner was just a little better."
Trainer Mark Hennig said Raging Fever was probably done for the year.
Nasty Storm collected her eighth career win in 22 starts. With the $90,000 winning share, she has now amassed more than $737,000 in earnings.
Sent off at 14-1 in a field of six, Nasty Storm paid $30.80, $13 and $3.20. Raging Fever returned $3.80 and $2.50. Shine Again paid $2.10.