Stormy Roman Nips Swift Replica in Axthelm

(from track report)
Swift Replica, at 17-1, tried to make every pole a winning one in Saturday's $100,000 Pete Axthelm Stakes at Calder Race Course, but was nabbed just before the wire by Stormy Roman, himself an even longer shot at 30-to-1 odds.

Jockey Abel Castellano Jr. sent Swift Replica immediately to the front in the 7 ½-furlong turf test and he had the race all but won in the final sixteenth of a mile. But jockey Manuel Aguilar, riding Stormy Roman, timed his move perfectly to seize the lead with only strides to go.

"I knew he could get there," said Aguilar, who was instructed to take back early. "He said hold him together and save some ground. I thought I could win at the quarter pole because I had a lot of horse at that point."

A son of Future Storm, Stormy Roman completed the distance in 1:29 1/5 and finished a neck in front of Swift Replica. Miesque's Approval, a co-favorite at 5-2, closed well to finish third.

The mutuel returns were healthy ones. Stormy Roman paid $65.80, $30.80 and $13.00; Swift Replica returned $15.60 and $7.80; while Miesque's Approval paid $3.40 for the show. The $2 exacta returned $992.80 and the trifecta paid $4,133.40. The superfecta combination with Political Attack fourth returned a whopping $77,289.40 for each $2 wager.

Timothy Hills trains Stormy Roman for owner Thomas Croley, but Hills was not at Calder because he is on a ski vacation in New Hampshire.

Stormy Roman, fourth in the Amerilady at Calder Nov. 23, won for the fourth time in 12 starts this year. She did not race at 2. The initial stakes victory nearly doubled her career bankroll to $122,286.

"This horse has been training very well and we hoped he'd run well," said assistant trainer Linda Shanty. "But, I'm a little surprised that he was able to win it. He needed his last start off the layoff (from August to November). He grabbed a foot pretty badly and we just had to give him the time (to heal."

(Chart, Equibase)