The trip from California to South Florida behind him, Alvin Eisman and Bill Currin's Stormello tried the Gulfstream Park main track Friday morning for the first time ahead of his challenge in Saturday’s $350,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II).
The 3-year-old son of Stormy Atlantic galloped a little more than a mile in his first chance to stretch his legs since arriving late Wednesday night. His long trip to take on leading Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) contender Nobiz Like Shobiz began almost 18 hours earlier Wednesday morning in California with a frantically arranged flight.
“This was his first chance to see the track and his first time on the surface,” co-breeder and co-owner Currin, who also trains Stormello. “He needed to acclimate to the climate a little bit.”
While the trip was long, Currin downplayed any trouble with the flight arrangements and pointed to how well adjusted Stormello looked and acted. The 70-year-old horseman is traveling a familiar road after globe-trotting in 2003 with the talented 3-year-old Outta Here.
“The best thing about this horse is he has a tremendous mind,” said Currin. “He's got a great mind for travel. He reminds me of Outta Here. I took him to the Middle East (Dubai), to the (Kentucky) Derby and Japan. He used to snicker before he got on a plane. He thought he was about go to a party. This horse is a lot like him.”
Currin says he had the Fountain of Youth on the schedule prior to the emergence of Nobiz Like Shobiz. He remains assured he has made the right choice despite the presence of the big favorite and the logistical headaches. Currin could have stayed in Southern California for the Robert Lewis Stakes (gr. II) Saturday at Santa Anita.
“I had intended to go here early on,” said Currin. “I wanted to keep Kent (Desormeaux) as his rider and because I blabbed ahead of time, Kent went out and got other business on the card. If I had stayed in California, Kent wouldn't have been able to come.
“Also, I want to showcase him to the East Coast. I hear they have a stud farm or two in this half of the country.”
Stormello is one of two grade 1 winners in the field along with Scat Daddy. Stormello won the Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) in his last start on Dec. 16 at Hollywood Park.