Stormy Lucy makes waves in $132.80 upset of Matriarch
But none of that mattered on the day. Responding to new rider Kent Desormeaux, the six-year-old veteran produced a barnstorming late run to deny Recepta (right) on the line. Stormy Lucy earned a first Grade 1 win for herself and for trainer Ed Moger Jr., and yielded handsome dividends of $132.80, $50.40 and $21.20.
The chaos began right out of the gate, as Hard Not to Like took a nosedive from post 1. Fortunate to stay on her feet, and to keep Hall of Famer John Velazquez aboard, the 7-2 shot effectively lost all chance.
The next plot twist came when English import Crowley’s Law showed early speed in her debut for Peter Miller. Curlin’s Fox had to scramble to get to the lead through splits of :22.69 and :46.70. By that point, Crowley’s Law and Baruta were both turning up the pressure, and ganging up on her at the six-furlong mark in 1:11.08.
Meanwhile, the 7-1 Recepta was well placed a few lengths off the contested pace. And when the East Coast shipper launched her challenge into the stretch, and surged past the tiring leaders, she appeared to be well on her way.
But Stormy Lucy suddenly emerged a danger, and Recepta could not contain the longshot’s relentless drive. Stormy Lucy stopped the clock in 1:35.16 to register a new career high.
There was more chaos behind. Filimbi, the 5-2 favorite who’d been held up in 12th early, barged with Stellar Path in upper stretch and made belated progress to snatch third. Queen of the Sand likewise kept on well from the rear for fourth.
Of the rest, sixth-placer Prize Exhibit deserves special mention after spinning extremely wide leaving the far turn. Moreover, she collided with Olorda (who had been affected by the other barging at the top of the lane) before resuming forward momentum. Prize Exhibit endured one of the widest trips in the race – according to Trakus, covering 31 feet more than Stormy Lucy – and lost by about three lengths.
Stormy Lucy has been a graded performer for four straight years, so this Matriarch could be interpreted as a reward for her longevity and hard-knocking attitude. Originally trained by Frank Lucarelli, the daughter of Stormy Atlantic captured a pair of minor stakes at Golden Gate Fields, and placed in the 2012 Del Mar Oaks (G1), Honeymoon H. (G2), and Rodeo Drive (G1), before just missing in the 2013 Robert J. Frankel (G3). She scored her graded breakthrough in the 2014 Santa Ana (G2).
Then purchased privately by Steve Moger and switching barns, Stormy Lucy made it a quick double next time out in the Santa Barbara (G3). Although she failed to win in her ensuing outings, she often picked up checks, and she added a pair of thirds to her resume in the June 27 Royal Heroine (G2) and the September 26 Rodeo Drive (G1). In her latest, she was a one-paced fifth in the Goldikova (G2) – over the Matriarch course and distance – November 1. Her scorecard stands at 31-8-2-5, $771,700.
Quotes from Del Mar
Trainer Ed Moger Jr. on Stormy Lucy: “She was doing great and she’s such a good horse. When you’ve got a good horse you’ve always got a chance. We’ve been trying to get a Grade I win for her all year. It’s the first Grade I for me and I’ve been waiting for it for a long time. I’ve been training for 40 years. We wanted to run her in the Breeders’ Cup and then go to the (Keeneland) sale. But then she didn’t get in and we really wanted to win a Grade I, so that’s why we’re here.”
Hall of Fame rider Kent Desormeaux on Stormy Lucy: “She ran huge; huge. The trainer (Ed Moger, Jr.) told me she doesn’t switch leads. But she did today. She sure did. Terrific race for her. I can’t remember one (a longshot) like this. Never been involved in one in a stakes like this. Boxcars. Amazing.”
Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez on Hard Not to Like, ninth after a disastrous start: “She was ready for the break. I don’t know why she stumbled like she did.”
Photo of Stormy Lucy (left) getting up over Recepta, courtesy of Benoit.