This was a long time coming and two-plus years of mostly frustration. Leaving out of the six hole last night without his normal break (for non-horse race people this means gallop which is illegal in a trot race) at the gate Stormy shot to the lead as the first quarter went in 29.3. Stormy settled and allowed Lofty , who was parked to the quarter to take the front spot.
The straightaways are where we normally find the most difficulty maintaining speed as he has a tendency to interfere quite a bit. For non-horse race people this means his front legs clobber both his back leg and knee with each step. I could see the skipping starting towards the end of the backside but he was still setting a comfortable second when the leader hit the half mile pole in 59 seconds flat.
The third quarter of the race is where we need him put in his best effort as he trots turns like a state champ. So halfway through the turn Matt Avenatti, driving him for the second time, pulled from the two hole to take on the leader and the two were head to head when they passed the 3/4 pole in 1:29.2 and hit the top of the stretch.
I was pretty certain we wouldn’t be able to handle the long Hawthorne stretch and that we would either make a break or be gobbled up by a fast closing field; but my lack of faith was unwarranted. Stormy trotted a respectable 29.3 last quarter to win by three lengths. He won at odds of nearly 30-1 returning $60 for a $2 bet. Although I did not make a bet, but I am very happy with the purse money.
He is a bit of a family pet (“pet” is a bad word for this racing business) as we bred, broke and trained him his whole life. ..and now a maiden no more… with a new lifetime mark of 1:59.1.