River Ridge Ranch LLC.’s Storm Advisory ran away with Saturday’s $125,000 King Cotton Stakes, leaving five other rivals in his dust, including 2-5 favorite Ivan Fallunovalot. Ivan Fallunovalot, who was seeking his third straight King Cotton victory, finished fourth.
Breaking sharply under jockey Geovanni Franco, Storm Advisory assumed the early lead and proceeded through fractions of :22 1/5 and :45 1/5 for the first half mile. The winner maintained the advantage entering the stretch, shook clear and drew off to win by 2 ¾ lengths over Recount in 1:09 4/5 for six furlongs over a fast track. Apprehender, who had won the King Cotton in 2013 and ’14, came from last after a wide trip around the turn to get third.
Ivan Fallunovalot, Rockport Kat and Conquest Twister completed the order of finish. Mr. Z, Crewman and Helooksthepart were scratched.
“With the way he’s been training and coming along, it wasn’t a surprise today,” said Robertino Diodoro, who is currently Oaklawn’s leading trainer with . “It was a surprise was him being on the lead. The plan was to sit a little bit off of it, but he broke sharp and away he went. We’ll take it one step at a time, but obviously one of the goals would be to make the Hot Springs (March 11) and then the Count Fleet (April 15).”
Storm Advisory, a 5-year-old Weigelia horse bred in Pennsylvania, improved his career record to 8-4-4 in 32 starts. He returned $26, $8.60 and $7.60 at odds of 12-1.
Live racing resumes Sunday at Oaklawn with a special 1 p.m. first post for Super Bowl.
King Cotton Quotes:
Winning trainer Robertino Diodoro, Storm Advisory – “With the way he’s been training and coming coming along, it wasn’t a surprise today. It was a surprise was him being on the lead. The plan was to sit a little bit off of it, but he broke sharp and away he went. We’ll take it one step at a time, but obviously one of the goals would be to make the Hot Springs and then the Count Fleet.
“We’ve been planning for this meet for months. I have been very fortunate that I’ve had owners step up and things have fallen into place. It’s been a team effort.”
Winning jockey Giovani Franco – “The horse basically pulled me around the track today. He broke very sharp, and has natural speed. When we turned for home he just kept on going. The horse did it all. Thank you to the trainer and the owners for the opportunity.”
Jockey Chris Landeros, Recount, second – “He (Recount) broke a little slow and I had to go to plan B. I wanted to be up close with Storm Advisory, but within three jumps I was where I needed to be. Just a little slow on the break might have cost him a little bit today, but he ran a great race. Hats off to the winner, he took off and so did mine, but I had no excuse from the quarter pole home. Both horses ran great. My horse ran an awesome race.”
Trainer Tom Howard, beaten favorite Ivan Fallunovalot, fourth – “Didn't pull it off. He got in a hole he couldn't get out of. He didn't like it when he couldn't get out, but he probably needed that out. We'll be back.”
Jockey Calvin Borel, beaten favorite Ivan Fallunovalot, fourth – “He ran alright. He needed it. This will pick his head up and get him where we want him to be. He did good.”
Source: Oaklawn Park