Stormy Kiss Lasts to Wire in Honorable Miss
by Blood-Horse Staff
Date Posted: 8/4/2006 6:35:50 PM
Last Updated: 8/6/2006 2:53:37 PM

Stormy Kiss (right) beats Malibu Mint to the wire to win the Honorable Miss.
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Photo: Coglianese Photos
(from Saratoga report)
Lael Stable's Stormy Kiss overcame a stumble at the start to earn a front-running victory under Javier Castellano in Friday's $150,000 Honorable Miss Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares at six furlongs. She held off the fast closing Malibu Mint by a neck at Saratoga.

After recovering from her brief stumble, the Argentine-bred Stormy Kiss dueled with Miss Elsie through an opening quarter mile of :22:80 and a half of :48.85. The two played cat and mouse for a bit before Stormy Kiss shook loose for good and opened a clear lead at the quarter-pole.

A large hole opened on the inside for Grecian Lover at the head of the lane, but she couldn't put it to good use. Instead, the threat came from the far outside as Malibu Mint and jockey Josue Arce came flying with a rally that just fell short. Stormy Kiss, carrying four pounds less at 114, won in 1:10 58.

A daughter of Bernstein trained by Barclay Tagg, she returned $10, $4.80, and $3.60 for her seventh win in 10 starts. Malibu Mint ($4.70, $3.30) finished 1 3/4 lengths in front of Miss Elsie ($3.40) and jockey Mario Pino. Favored Ever Elusive ran fifth.

"As soon as she stumbled, she was on the muscle and rushed right up there," Tagg said. "I thought Javier rode her beautifully. He took a nice hold of her without fighting her. She was nice and relaxed today and able to get the job done. I would love to run her here once more. I think seven furlongs or a mile; she could settle into that stride and stretch out without any problem. She's a good filly, and we'll think about the Ballerina (gr. I)."

The $250,000 Ballerina Breeders' Cup Handicap for fillies and mares at seven furlongs will be run Aug. 27.

Grecian Lover finished fourth followed by the 2-1 choice Ever Elusive and Reunited.

"She jumped in at the start, but it didn't cost me anything," said Johnny Velazquez, riding Ever Elusive for trainer Todd Pletcher. "I was in-hand at the half-mile pole, but when I let her go, she didn't have anything. It just wasn't her day today."

(Chart, Equibase)

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