'New' Stormello Changes Style for Kentucky Derby

'New' Stormello Changes Style for Kentucky Derby
Photo: Benoit
Stormello changing style for Derby run.
If you’ve forgotten about Stormello after his fourth-place finish in the Florida Derby (gr. I), be prepared to see a new version of the old speed horse when the colt breaks from the gate in the May 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

Trainer and co-owner Bill Currin decided to change the colt’s style completely, and informed the head clocker at Hollywood Park to time every split for as far as the horse goes. Although they were unable to get them all, four other clockers, according to Currin, timed him all the way.

The end result was a five-furlong breeze in 1:01 3/5, with splits of: 26 2/5, :38 2/5, :49 4/5, 1:01 3/5, out in 1:14  4/5, 1:29 1/5, 1:45 1/5 for the mile, 1:58 2/5 for the mile and an eighth, and 2:13 for the mile and a quarter. This was a departure from the rapid works the colt usually turns in..

 “We’re trying to change his style,” Currin said. “We tried something different, and he was spectacular. He’s just an unbelievable horse. He was in an easy breeze the whole way around, and the main thing is how he came out of it. He wasn’t blowing a bit. I’ll take his combat boots off after one more work and then put on his wing-tipped shoes for race day.

“I’ve never been able to get him to work so slow, but I tricked him this time. I made it look like he wasn’t going to work. We just loped him along with the pony and let him ease off at the quarter. You couldn’t tell if he was breezing or galloping, which is why I called the clockers ahead of time.”

Currin said Kent Desormeaux will be back aboard the son of Stormy Atlantic   for the Derby. And this time, he’ll be traveling with Tex Sutton and not FedEx. If he had do it all over again, Currin said he wouldn’t have sent Stormello back to Florida the second time, especially knowing he would have been a solid favorite in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) had he stayed home.

“Do you believe when he ran in the Florida Derby, he had already put in 40 hours of flying, and twice was stuck on the pallet for hours because of a delay? Currin said. “The last time, we got him on the plane at LAX and he wound up sitting on the tarmac for five hours before they took off. And that was after a 14-hour flight the first time we went. It was brutally unfortunate for me and my horse, but he never complained. He’ll never complain about anything. But it did take its toll.

“Even with that, he still led every step of the way in the Florida Derby and was only beaten four lengths. Now. We’re going by Tex Sutton from Pomona, and 3 1/2 hours later, we’ll be at Churchill Downs.”

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