Stormy Liberal stumbles, then rallies in final Dubai prep

February 22, 2019 04:17pm

Making his first start Friday since named Champion Male Turf Horse, 7-year-old Stormy Liberal illustrated that in a race as short as five furlongs, it takes just one bad step to lose a race.

The son of Stormy Atlantic nearly took a stumble leaving the turn of Santa Anita’s allowance opener —
  connections were using it as a prep for Dubai’s much richer Al Quoz Sprint (G1) — and Eddie Haskell delivered a turf course record 55.06-second performance to edge out the champ at the wire.

Jockey Drayden Van Dyke told TVG's Britney Eurton that Stormy Liberal "hit a bad spot," meaning a wet portion of the turf, "and almost lost his whole balance."

Trained by Peter Miller, Stormy Liberal battled on after his misstep, putting a head in front running between horses in the stretch. Stablemate Calculator folded to his inside, while Eddie Haskell ran out outside.

Stormy Liberal just missed in the photo finish. Coming back, Van Dyke said, the gelding showed no signs of an injury.

Brian Trump, racing manager for co-owner Rockingham Ranch, added that Miller "will have him under close observation the next few days," but initially, "so far all looks good with Stormy Liberal."

Stormy Liberal making his second start since going back to back in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint last November at Churchill Downs. On Jan. 1, Stormy Liberal ran second in Santa Anita’s Joe Hernandez (G3). He also made the trip to run in the Jan. 26 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint but scratched the morning of the race when it came off the grass due to rain.

Stormy Liberal finished second in last year’s Al Quoz Sprint, a $1 million race.

Two other Rockingham Ranch runners, Roy H and X Y Jet, are also expected to run over dirt March 30 at Meydan in the Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) on the Dubai World Cup undercard.


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