02/11/2012 7:00PM

Gulfstream: Get Stormy wires Turf Handicap

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Barbara D. Livingston
Get Stormy, with Ramon Dominguez riding, wins the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap.

The primary reason trainer Tom Bush took horses to south Florida this winter was to try and win another Grade 1 race with Get Stormy.

Mission accomplished.

Able to get away with slow easy fractions over a turf course that had plenty of give to it, Get Stormy went gate to wire under Ramon Dominguez to win Saturday’s Grade 1, $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap by one-half length over Hollinger.

It was two lengths back to Big Blue Kitten in third. He was followed in the order of finish by Yummy With Butter, Kindergarden Kid, Yankee Fourtune and Silver Medallion, the 7-5 favorite.

“That’s what we came down here for this winter,” Bush said afterward. “It’s always nice to accomplish the mission.”

Get Stormy won for the 11th time in 27 career starts for owner/breeder Mary Sullivan, who turned 83 years old on Thursday. It was Get Stormy’s third Grade 1 victory, having taken the Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland and the Turf Classic at Churchill last spring. He boosted his career earnings to $1,496,197.

About the only poor performances Get Stormy has turned in during his racing career were in the last two runnings of the Breeders’ Cup Mile. He finished 12th in last year’s Mile and 11th in 2010, both at Churchill Downs.

The goal is to get back to the Breeders’ Cup, which this year will be held at Santa Anita.

Get Stormy is at his best when he is able to secure the early lead. Saturday, under Dominguez, Get Stormy got clear soon after the start and set fractions of 25.62 seconds for the opening quarter, 51.07 for the half-mile, 1:16.14 for six furlongs while maintaining a clear advantage over Silver Medallion, who was coming off a win in the Ft. Lauderdale Stakes last out.

Get Stormy had plenty left to kick away from Silver Medallion turning into the stretch and had enough to fend off a late run from Hollinger, who had saved ground in third position during the early stages of the race.

Get Stormy, a 6-year-old son of Stormy Atlantic covered the mile 1 1/8 miles in 1:52.78 over a turf course labeled good and returned $7.20 to win as the second choice.

Since he knew Get Stormy relishes soft turf, Bush was not concerned with the course condition Saturday “other than the fact I was worried he might get a little more tired on it,” he said.

Get Stormy and Dominguez had to withstand an objection from Paco Lopez, the rider of fourth-place finisher Yummy With Butter, to keep the victory. Lopez alleged that coming out of the gate Get Stormy came over on Yankee Fourtune, who in turn came in on Yummy With Butter forcing him to steady shortly after the start. The stewards dismissed the foul claim.

Bush said he would likely limit Get Stormy to three or four more starts before the Breeders’ Cup, with the next one coming in the Maker’s Mark at Keeneland in April.