10/17/2010 7:00AM

El Rancho, Stormy Crystal deliver as heavy favorites


Heavy favorites El Rancho and Stormy Crystal held up their end, winning their respective divisions of Turf Paradise’s ATBA Fall Sales Stakes on Saturday.

El Rancho, owned and trained by Karl Myers, had little trouble in the $106,555 colt-and-gelding division. Sent off the 9-5 favorite in the field of 10 2-year-olds who were sold in last fall’s ATBA Sales, El Rancho battled early with Valley Station and R Skydiver. Valley Station fell away first but R Skydiver, also sent off at 9-5, continued to challenge in the six-furlong event. El Rancho, under Jake Barton, finally go the better of R Skydiver in the lane, edging away to win by 1 1/4 lengths. R Skydiver was a clear second, finishing five lengths in front of fast Freight in third.

El Rancho ran the distance in 1:10.37 and paid $5.60. The winner’s share of $31,419 pushes his career bankroll to $43,970 from 3 wins in 4 starts.

“I nearly missed the winning bid [$15,000] at the sale on this youngster because I was eating a hamburger,” said Myers, who also won this race in 2000 (Polished Act) and 1990 (Brisk Sailing).

Stormy Crystal, owned by Just for Fun Farms LLC and trained by Molly Pearson, romped by 10 3/4 lengths in her Oct. 1 debut win and showed that performance was no fluke, posting another facile victory in the $99,853 filly division. Under Adolfo Morales, she broke very slowly from her rail draw in the field of 10, but after biding her time Stormy Crystal steadily advanced, took over in midstretch, and powered home to win in easy fashion by 6 1/2 lengths. Birdstone Girl sat back and ran on well for second, while Patty Come Home made the pace and stayed on for third. Things were made easier for the winner when main foe R La Patrona scratched.

Stormy Crystal ran the six furlongs in 1:12.16 and paid $3 as the heavy favorite. The winner’s share of $55.474 pushes her career earnings to $59.674 from two wins in as many starts.

“I was nervous at the break because Stormy got a poor start,” said Pearson, who paid $7,000 for the daughter of Al Ghazi at the ATBA Sale. “She showed me another dimension today.”