Storming Inti keeps streak alive in $100,000 Kitten’s Joy
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Storming Inti was facing his toughest competition yet as he looked to extend his win streak, but the Chad Brown-trained colt proved up to the challenge.
Passed by Grade 1 winner We Miss Artie in mid-stretch, Storming Inti rallied again along the rail in the final sixteenth of a mile and hit the wire a head in front to capture the $100,000 Kitten’s Joy on Sunday at Gulfstream Park.
It was the third consecutive stakes victory for the 3-year-old son of Stormy Atlantic and fourth overall dating back to his maiden triumph at Belmont Park on Sept. 28, which was his last try at the Kitten’s Joy distance. Owned by Santa Rosa Racing Stables, Storming Inti ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.34 over a firm turf course, returning $5.80 as the 9-5 favorite in a field of eight.
“He has shown us that in the morning in his works. He just doesn’t like to be passed,” Brown said. “We saw that early on with the horse, and in his last race he was hooked in the lane and he came back. He had a stiffer test from a better racehorse today, and he showed up.”
Breaking from post two, Storming Inti got out well and was able to settle into a comfortable rhythm under jockey Alan Garcia, leading through a quarter-mile in 23.99 seconds and a half in 48.64.
Storming Inti was still in command through six furlongs in 1:12.30, as We Miss Artie began to range up on his outside. The two hooked up at the top of the stretch and were inseparable down the lane, with We Miss Artie appearing to poke his nose in front past the eighth pole.
Under Garcia’s steady urging, Storming Inti came back again and surged ahead in the final stride. Cabo Cat was third, 1 ¼ lengths back, followed by Scoria, Enthrone, Go Go Romeo, Drover Road and Rope a Dope.
“I thought Alan really nursed him down the backside and reserved some energy for the stretch battle. It all worked out great,” Brown said. “My plan A was if we could get loose on the lead and cut a 48 and change half, and that’s what happened. Plan B was if somebody was super intent on getting the lead, I think this horse can sit in the pocket and just wait for an opening when they turn for home. I was OK with either. Thankfully, he made the lead and was left alone the first part. He’s got such a big heart, and they really battled all the way down the lane.”
Heading into the Kitten’s Joy, Storming Inti had won a pair of one-mile stakes, the Awad over Belmont’s turf on Oct. 27, and the Pulpit on a sloppy, sealed main track at Gulfstream on Nov. 30, originally carded for the grass.
We Miss Artie, who won the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) on Keeneland’s Polytrack last October, was making a return to the turf in his first start since finishing seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) on Nov. 2.
“That was a very exciting race,” Garcia said. “On paper, there was no speed, so Chad said, ‘Whatever you decide is fine with me. If you get in front, slow it down and try to steal it.’ I didn’t get nervous. I had a good feeling in my horse. It’s unbelievable how game my horse is. Last time, he did the same thing to me. He likes playing with the other horses and at the last minute he decides to run. He’s a game horse and he’s very hard to beat.”