August 13, 2022

Got Stormy an imposing figure in Endeavour at Tampa

Got Stormy and jockey Tyler Gaffalione win the Matriarch © BENOIT PHOTO

Perhaps a champion in any other season, Got Stormy proved only third most popular among Eclipse Award voters for 2019 champion turf female honors despite wins in the Fourstardave H. (G1) and Matriarch (G1), with placings against the boys in the Woodbine Mile (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1).

On Saturday, the 5-year-old Mark Casse trainee will kick off her 2020 campaign as an overwhelming favorite in the $175,000 Endeavour (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs, a 1 1/16-mile test won four years ago by the Casse-trained champion Tepin.

Only an allowance winner in three starts through the first half of last season, Got Stormy came into her own at Saratoga, winning the restricted De La Rose S. and following up a week later with a tally in the Fourstardave against males. Third that day was Uni, who was eventually voted champion of the turf female division after avenging that loss to Got Stormy in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita.

Got Stormy rebounded off the Woodbine and Breeders’ Cup with a successful rally in the Dec. 1 Matriarch at Del Mar, and figures to be odds-on under Tyler Gaffalione.

The most accomplished of her seven rivals is Andina Del Sur, who won the 2018 Florida Oaks (G3) in her only previous run on the Tampa turf and a dual stakes winner last fall for Tom Albertrani.

The $175,000 Tampa Bay (G3), also at 1 1/16 miles on the turf but for older horses, is a much more competitive affair on paper. The field is led by 2019 Wise Dan (G2) winner March to the Arch, last-out winner of the Sunshine Millions Turf at Gulfstream for Casse.

Multiple graded stakes winner Caribou Club was in excellent form throughout 2019 with the exception of a sub-par run in Dubai last March, while Grade 2 veteran Hembree is another who could benefit from a pace that looks as if it could be hotly contested between Real News, Renaisance Frolic, and Halladay.