08/20/2009 12:00AM

Stormy Mountain tough


Handicappers have a judgment call to make with probable favorite Stormy Mountain in the eighth race Saturday at Louisiana Downs. They must consider the impact an altitude change might have had when assessing the career performance she turned in last out. But, she is also just 3, and there are reasons to believe she is an improving horse.

Stormy Mountain is one of nine fillies and mares in the $12,000 optional claiming sprint with first-level allowance conditions. She comes into the race off 5 1/4-length win in a $20,000 conditioned claimer at Lone Star Park on July 19. Stormy Mountain covered six furlongs in a razor-sharp 1:09.80 to earn a Beyer Speed Figure of 92.

The number is at least 20 points higher than the last-race Beyer turned in by her rivals Saturday, and 30 points better than what Stormy Mountain earned on June 28 at SunRay Park in Farmington, N.M. She then moved into the Texas-Louisiana region and turned in the career effort at Lone Star. It came in her first start for trainer Brandon Bridges.

"I think she'll run as good or maybe a little better," he said. "It's going to be kind of tough to run much better, but if she runs that good, I think that's plenty."

Bridges said he liked what Stormy Mountain showed in her first breeze for him on July 11. She caught unexpected company, "a solid allowance horse," he said, and after tracking him drew away by five lengths.

"I thought then we might have something," said Bridges.

Ramsey Zimmerman has the mount on the filly, whose dam, Meadow Storm, was a multiple stakes winner of $182,165.