Since finishing a troubled third in his career bow last summer,
Storming Inti has done nothing but win for trainer Chad Brown, putting
together a four-race streak that includes three straight
The chestnut son of Stormy Atlantic will be facing his toughest test
yet in the 31st running of the $150,000 Palm Beach (G3) on Saturday at
Gulfstream Park, which will mark his graded stakes debut.
“He has just continued to progress,” Brown said. “He just keeps
getting better and better, and I’m very pleased with how he’s doing. He
has definitely earned his way into a graded race.”
Owned by Santa Rosa Racing Stables, Storming Inti kicked off his
sophomore season by out-finishing Grade 1 winner We Miss Artie to take
the $100,000 Kitten’s Joy at Gulfstream on Jan. 19 in his most recent
effort, and stretches out from 8 ½ to nine furlongs for the Palm
It was the fifth career start for Storming Inti, who finished third
in his debut at Saratoga Race Course in August after being bumped and
having to steady in deep stretch. He went on to break his maiden in
September before taking the Awad Stakes, both at Belmont
Four weeks later, Storming Inti was a one-length winner of the Pulpit
Stakes on opening day at Gulfstream, a race moved from the grass to a
sloppy and sealed main track.
“In his debut he got into a little trouble but ran on well. He broke
his maiden nicely at Belmont,” Brown said. “He’s a horse that always
acted like a nice horse, and he’s acting like a horse that will get
better as they race more and get more experience. Physically he’s
developed nicely, but he has always been a nice prospect for
Brown was particularly impressed with the Kitten’s Joy where Storming
Inti, racing on the inside, briefly lost the lead to We Miss Artie
approaching the wire before surging again to get up by a head. He will
break from post one under Javier Castellano in the 13-horse Palm Beach
field that includes main-track-only entrant Ring Weekend.
“Winning breeds confidence, I really believe in that,” Brown said.
“Horses can get confident and get on a roll and this one, mentally, is a
very strong horse. He always trains with a lot of interest.
Particularly in his last race, he was very determined that day to win.
He’s just been a pleasure to have in the barn.”
Brown will also saddle French import Pleuven in the Palm Beach for
owners Robert LaPenta, Gary Finder and Bradley Thoroughbreds. In his
North American debut, Pleuven rallied from far back on the outside to
finish third, beaten 3 ¼ lengths, in the one-mile $100,000 Dania Beach
(G3) at Gulfstream on Dec. 21.
“He took a little while to settle into American training, but once we
got over the hump and got him into a nice rhythm with his training he’s
acted like a nice horse,” Brown said. “I was thinking a mile might be a
little short for him, but I figured it would be a good spot to get him
started. I thought he ran well and finished well, and a mile and an
eighth should be very good for him.”
Ten-time defending meet training champion Todd Pletcher has never won
the Palm Beach, but will take a shot with Gala Award. The lightly raced
Bernardini colt has made two starts, finishing second in his Dec. 7
debut before graduating with a game three-quarter length maiden win on
Jan. 20, both at Gulfstream.
“I think a mile and an eighth suits him well,” Pletcher said. “I
thought his last race was another move forward. Hopefully, he’s got
another one in him.”
Gala Award was the second maiden grass winner in a week for Pletcher
with a son of Bernardini, a multiple Grade 1 winner on dirt and champion
3-year-old male of 2006.
“I’m not sure why he’s shown more on the grass than he has on the
dirt,” Pletcher said. “His dirt works have been improving since his last
two races, but we know he handles the grass here. If something crazy
happens and it comes off the turf, we wouldn’t be afraid to run him on
Seventh in the $400,000 Miller Lite Holy Bull (G2) on Jan. 25 in his
first dirt start, Mr Speaker returns to the turf in the Palm Beach for
Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey. In his previous race, the Pulpit
colt drew off to a 10 ¾-length win in the Dania Beach (G3) at Gulfstream
on Dec. 21, and will race with Lasix for the first time.
Second to Mr Speaker in the Dania Beach, Cabo Cat came back to be a
solid third in the Kitten’s Joy, closing to within 1 ¼ lengths of
Storming Inti and We Miss Artie. In his only other stakes try, he was no
factor in finishing sixth to Storming Inti in the Awad.
Smart Cover will make his 3-year-old debut for trainer Dale Romans in
the Palm Beach, his first race since running second by a neck in the
Iroquois (G2) at Churchill Downs on Sept. 7. Finishing third that day,
another neck back, was Tapiture, who has gone on to win both the
Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) and Southwest (G3), the latter on Feb.
Moved to the turf for his last start, So Lonesome responded with a
head victory in the Virgo Libra Stakes at Aqueduct on Nov. 16 for
trainer Tom Bush, who upset the $75,000 Ladies Turf Sprint with Believe
in Charlie on Sunday at Gulfstream.
Making their stakes debut in the Palm Beach are Two Jacks Wild and
maiden winners Can’thelpbelieving, Morning Calm, My Storm Trooper and