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Catching up with Clyde (Get Stormy)
Get Stormy (2006 b. h. by Stormy Atlantic - Foolish Gal, by Kiri's Clown) at Palm Meadows, March 2012. Get Stormy was bred by Mary A. Sullivan and is raced by her Sullimar Stable. His trainer is Tom Bush, his exercise rider Javier Cabrera and his groom is Melbi Ardiano.
Get Stormy's next race is scheduled to be the Maker's 46 Mile at Keeneland on 4/13. Get Stormy won the race last year, when it was called the Maker's Mark.
He’s movie-star handsome, with a poofy jet-black mop-top, a glowing red-bay coat, striking white points and a confident manner. He’s relaxed when he needs to be and fiercely competitive when the chips are down. He has nine, count ‘em, nine stakes victories so far – including 3 Grade Is. And this year, he seems as good – if not better – than ever. He’s…..Get Stormy.
Or, as he’s known to nearly everyone who knows him, Clyde.
“We gave him that name as soon as he walked off the van,” trainer Tom Bush says, with a quick laugh. “He looked like a yearling Clydesdale. If he had the fetlock hairs, he’d look just like one.”
So, Tom, tell us a little more about Clyde. What was he like when you first got him?
He really did have a look about him when he came in as a 2-year-old. But he was very narrow and leggy and immature – he’s a classic late-developing horse.
He weighs 300 pounds more than when he was a (2-year-old), at least. He’s massive. He was still growing when he was 4.
Above: Get Stormy in January 2012, Javier Cabrera up.
When he was a baby, did you think he’d, you know, turn into the Get Stormy we all know and love?
We had hope for him because he was very athletic, and we could see that he had a little bit of speed. But he was immature in the mind, too. He was very green the first 3 or 4 times he ran, and it took him a while to settle down and figure it all out. But that goes along with his physical immaturity.
Hey, it’s always a wonderful story when they go the right way for you.
Get Stormy was bred and is owned by Mary A. Sullivan of Sullimar Stable. Mary is perhaps best known as the co-breeder/owner of Kiri's Clown (Get Stormy's broodmare sire just happens to be Kiri's Clown).
Mary is a class act - right down to her lovely hats and attire at the track - and she adores her horses. What’s she like to work with?
Her #1 priority is the care of the horse, so she’s always willing to do whatever needs to be done. And she’s patient. If a horse needs time, it’s not a problem. She’s great to train for.
Get Stormy’s foretop…what’s up?
We like him to look like a stud man, that’s why we leave it like that (laughter). His mane is ridiculously thick. We have a hard time keeping it under control. That’s part of his image.
Clyde’s favorite foods?
He likes peppermints, apple cookies, and, oh, he loves carrots.
Does he have any quirks…you know, does he do anything weird?
He likes to bite.
Really? Like, actually, meaning it, bite?
Yes. He’s not mean, but in the stall he likes to get a bit aggressive.
All the time, or just before big races?
All the time.
(At this point Clyde’s exercise rider Javier Cabrera, a jockey in his native Argentina, can’t help chipping in. “When I was holding him when he was taking a bath once, he bit me.”
“Yes, hard!” (more laughter))
Clyde is known for his front-running style. When they come down the stretch and the competition is bearing down on him, is it scary?
We’ve built up a lot of confidence in him, and that helps. The nice thing about Get Stormy is that he’s just a wonderful horse in the paddock. So well-behaved. It takes a lot of pressure off, because you’re not worried about him losing the race in the paddock. He’s very composed when he’s running, too, so that’s part of his secret.
Any other secrets?
He’s been remarkably healthy, that’s one of the secrets of our game – getting one that can last. That’s why they show up for these races. So often, we have things that happen. But he’s never had an injury that’s required any kind of lay-up, so we’ve been very fortunate.
* * *
Clyde is 6 now and, realistically, it’s likely he’ll be retired after this season. But even if the handsome stallion is soon siring flashy babies, hope always springs eternal in this game - including for Tom.
“He has a full brother that’s a yearling, he looks very similar,” Tom says. “He looks to be a hair darker, with a lot of chrome, leggy, big – he might even be bigger than Get Stormy.
“We (nick)named him right away. We named him Bud.”
Above: Get Stormy and Ramon Dominguez rocking-and-rolling on a Saratoga morning, 2011.
Above and below: The affable Tom Bush with his stable star Get Stormy at Churchill Downs last autumn. Tom has been training for 18 years, and Get Stormy is the best horse he's trained.
Above/below: Get Stormy with Tom Bush and, below, with owner Mary Sullivan.
Above: Get Stormy and Javier Cabrera during a Palm Meadows workout in March 2012. Javier, a former jockey in Argentina, has been in this country for about 5 years. I asked him what it's like to ride Get Stormy, and if people recognize them in the mornings. Is he proud?
"Yes, I'm really proud, people really like him," he says. "He's a really nice horse, and he's really easy to gallop."
Above: With groom Melbi Ardiano - the man who keeps his white points clean.
Above: Get Stormy and Ramon Dominguez in their most recent Grade I victory, the 2012 Gulfstream Park Handicap. It seems everyone at the track knows Get Stormy, and it's easy to see why - look at those four wonderfully white legs and that blaze that even covers much of his lower lip.
Above: Tom Bush gives Clydes a peppermint.
Get Stormy's 2012 Gulfstream Park Handicap win: http://www.drf.com/news/gulfstream-get-stormy-wires-turf-handicap
Get Stormy's past performances: Download PDF
Stormy retired last week. We will miss him!!
I adored this article! When I saw you wrote about 'flashy' offspring, I THOUGHT said, "FLESHY' which might be just as appropriate! LOL, HE IS MASSIVE!! I do not think I have ever seen a more muscular, fleshy massive mount. He is just all muscle, is he not? I mean he is wide, thick and just a monster. I LOVE HIM. I do believe he is my new favorite. Thanks for this very informative article. It is interesting that he is a biter, although, not with malice. He just likes to 'taste' everyone. HA. Dora J Crow from Montgomery, Alabama (pix are FAB too of course)
My, he is a handsome, studly looking guy. Thanks for the great article and the wonderful pictures as always.
Great article and pictures! Love the big flashy guy. He always looks like a big happy kid who loves doing what he does so well. Hope he passes on his "clyde-ness" to the next generation.
Thanks Barbara! Always loved the look of this horse. Just a guy's guy kind of guy. Dishy!
Absolutely loved reading about Get Stormy and wonderful photos as always by Barbara Livingston.
Great piece - upbeat, entertaining yet informative. We need more Get Stormys, Mrs. Sullivans and Mr. Bushs in the Thoroughbred business. He is a beauty. Kathy Jones
Have always liked and bet this horse . Thanks for the insights ! peter k
Thank you! Some of these pictures are breathtaking. I got so excited when I heard he was racing at Keeneland again this year. I like the way he puts his ears back and his neck out when he runs, he looks so determined and aggressive and concentrated on his job.
Everybody loves Clyde! How can you not love a face like that?
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