Drayden Van Dyke celebrates his first Breeders’ Cup victory with Stormy Liberal in the Turf Sprint
Santa Anita Park will ring in the New Year on a high note as the track will pay tribute to its original “Voice” with the Grade III, $100,000 Joe Hernandez Stakes on Tuesday. The Hernandez is headed by trainer Peter Miller’s two-time Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint Champion, Stormy Liberal. Idle since prevailing by a neck over a yielding turf in this year’s Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs Nov. 3, soon to be 7-year-old Stormy Liberal shows no signs of slowing down, as he posted a career-best 119 Beyer Speed figure in his most recent win.
Along with Stormy Liberal, Miller is also well represented by both Conquest Tsunami and Calculator, both of whom have also enjoyed considerable success over Santa Anita’s unique hillside layout. Throw in recent winners Caribou Club and Law Abidin Citizen, and Tuesday’s eight-horse Hernandez has the look of a deep and competitive affair.
Owner: Rockingham Ranch and David Bernsen
Trainer: Peter Miller
Off at 7-1 in the 14-horse Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, this Stormy Atlantic gelding turned in one of the most amazing performances of the two-day extravaganza, as he was dead game in a thrilling neck victory. A winner of the same race on Nov. 4, 2017 at Del Mar, Stormy Liberal has now entered an elite fraternity of two-time Breeders’ Cup winners. Tough as nails wherever he’s led, Stormy Liberal is 14-8-4-0 over the hillside course and is 30-12-8-1 overall with earnings of $1,918,930. He looms strictly the horse to beat with Drayden Van Dyke back aboard.
Owner: Gary Barber
Trainer: Peter Miller
Second, beaten a head by Stormy Liberal down the hill two starts back in the Grade III Eddie D Stakes Sept. 28, Conquest Tsunami was subsequently beaten 16 ½ lengths by his stablemate in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint Nov. 3. Like Stormy Liberal, “Conquest” is a soon to be 7-year-old gelding by Stormy Atlantic. With a 5-2-2-1 mark down the hill, he’s 27-8-4-3 overall with earnings of $703,411 and gets a big boost with Joel Rosario taking over for the first time.
Owner: Glen Hill Farm
Trainer: Tom Proctor
Drawn nicely on the far outside, this Glen Hill Farm homebred closed much ground when third, beaten three quarters of a length by Stormy Liberal two starts back in the Grade III Eddie D here on Sept. 28. A soon to be 5-year-old Florida-bred gelding by City Zip, Caribou Club stretched out to a mile and a sixteenth in the Grade II Seabiscuit Handicap Nov. 24 at Del Mar and he responded with a 1 ¼ length win. With Joe Talamo set to ride for the third consecutive time, Caribou Club, who has a win from two starts down the hill, rates a huge upset chance on Tuesday.
LAW ABIDIN CITIZEN
Owner: Agnew, Schneider or Xitco
Trainer: Mark Glatt
Idle since winning a classified allowance down the hill here on Oct. 27, Law Abidin Citizen was fourth, beaten 1 ¼ lengths by Stormy Liberal two starts back in the Grade III Eddie D Sept. 28 and has won three of his five hillside starts. Tiago Pereira rides this soon to be 5-year-old gelding by Twirling Candy back and he too, rates an upset chance.
THE GRADE III JOE HERNANDEZ WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 8 of 10 Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PT
- Cistron—Tyler Baze—120
- Calculator—Flavien Prat—120
- Stormy Liberal—Drayden Van Dyke—124
- Afleet Ascent—Kent Desormeaux—120
- Law Abidin Citizen—Tiago Pereira—122
- Pubilius Syrus—Geovanni Franco—120
- Conquest Tsunami—Joel Rosario—124
- Caribou Club—Joe Talamo—124
Note: Joe Hernandez, who called 15,587 races in a row from the track’s opening on Dec. 25, 1934, until he collapsed during the running of a race on Jan. 27, 1972, was synonymous with the growth and success of Santa Anita from its infancy and was the track’s greatest ombudsman for decades.
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