12/06/2011 2:47PM

Gulfstream: Voodoo Storm sticking to main track

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Tom Keyser
Self Control won a seven-furlong maiden race at Saratoga.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Take a look at Voodoo Storm's breeding and it's easy to see why trainer Shug McGaughey started his career on the grass and expected the colt to be a better horse on turf than dirt. But lo and behold, it now seems Voodoo Storm may actually be fonder of the main track, a theory McGaughey plans to put to the test in Thursday's $53,500 allowance feature at Gulfstream Park.

Voodoo Storm is a son of Storm Cat and Voodoo Dancer, who was a two-time Grade 1 winner on turf during her racing career. He is also the younger brother of Voodoo Swinge, who has been Grade 3 stakes-placed twice on grass.

As a result, Voodoo Storm made his first seven starts on turf, winning a maiden race at second asking at Saratoga during the summer of 2010. But after failing to hit the board in five subsequent tries on turf, Voodoo Storm was given the opportunity to run on the main track and showed immediate improvement, finishing second under Julien Leparoux against entry-level allowance competition over dirt at Parx and on Polytrack Keeneland earlier this fall.

"He ran a good race over the main track at Parx and again on the Polytrack at Keeneland, and Julien said it seems to him that he likes dirt better," said McGaughey. "He's definitely improving, and I think it's probably a combination of both the surface change and the added experience."

Voodoo Storm has also changed his running style. He won his maiden race in wire-to-wire fashion at 2, but has come from near the rear of the pack and from well off the pace in his two main-track outings. That should serve him well in Thursday's headliner, which should feature plenty of early pace.

Trainer Todd Pletcher will counter Voodoo Storm with an uncoupled entry, Blimey and Soaring Stocks, both of whom figure to be on or near the lead from the outset.

Blimey has been idle since registering an impressive 3 1/2-length maiden win going a mile here in March. Blimey forced the pace that afternoon before pulling away easily through the stretch.

Soaring Stocks was also given time off after cruising to an easy six-length maiden special weight victory at six furlongs in July at Monmouth Park, a race in which he, too, pressed the issue from the start.

Self Control and Troilus will cross paths for the second time on Thursday. Self Control proved best in the pair's first matchup, which came going seven furlongs during the final week of the Saratoga meet. Self Control rallied to a half-length maiden win with Troilus finishing a tiring third. Troilus changed hands after that race, moving into trainer Marty Wolfson's barn at Calder, where he was an easy maiden winner on Oct. 30.