The wire came just in time for front-running Get Stormy , who gutted out the final couple of strides to nose the relentless Street Move in the $112,100 Commonwealth Turf Stakes (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) at Churchill Downs Nov. 15.
Get Stormy, the 9-5 favorite ridden by Javier Castellano, opened up a three-length lead mid-stretch but had to dig deep to hold off Street Move, who closed in under right-handed urging from jockey Joe Bravo. Street Move appeared to get his nose in front in the next-to-last jump, but Get Stormy earned the decision on a head bob.
Winning his fourth consecutive race, Get Stormy completed the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds in a stakes record 1:41.67 over firm turf.
Breaking from the rail, Get Stormy got the early jump on pace rival Major Marvel and showed the way through smart quarter-mile fractions of :23.57, :47.19 and 1:11.68. Get Stormy took control in the lane as Major Marvel backed up and appeared headed for certain victory. But after bumping Grizzled Robert in upper stretch, Street Move emerged from between horses to take his shot and barely missed in an exciting finish.
Castellano said the rail was the place to be with Get Stormy.
"He was very sharp today and felt great," the jockey said. "I tried to make him relax a little today. He got some pretty easy fractions up front. When I asked him to take off for home he responded very well and opened up for me. He is really starting to mature and turn into a nice horse.”
It was three lengths back to Grizzled Robert, with Jesus Castanon aboard, who closed mildly to head Pop Tarrt for third. Then came second choice Proceed Bee, Quite a Handful, Major Marvel, Florentino, Perfect Bull and Spectacular Kid.
Get Stormy, now three-for-three in stakes action for trainer Thomas Bush, was coming off a 1 1/2-length victory in Keeneland's Bryan Station Stakes (gr. IIIT) over yielding ground Oct. 18. Mary A. Sullivan's Sullimar Stables homebred rallied from just off the pacesetter Major Marvel to win that one-mile test.
“This is great," Sullivan said. "This is absolutely just wonderful beyond belief. I was hoping [we’d win the photo] but I wasn’t sure until they put it up. It was so close. What a great race. He’s moved up a lot and now he’s going to have a rest until his 4-year-old year. He’s done well enough to go home and take it easy for awhile.”
Overall, the son of Stormy Atlantic --Foolish Gal (by Kiri's Clown) owns a 5-2-1 record in 12 starts and $273,586 in earnings. His Churchill Downs debut was worth $66,027.
The co-high weight in the field of 10 at 123 pounds, the winning bay colt paid $5.80, $4.00 and $3.40.
Street Move, in his graded stakes debut following back-to-back allowance wins for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, returned $6 and $4.80 and completed a $43.20 exacta.
“If it was a mile and a sixteenth and a jump he gets all of it today," lamented Bravo.
Grizzled Robert, owned and trained by Hugh Robertson, was $10 to show.