Trainer Tom Bush is enjoying the latest challenge from Get Stormy.
After months of watching the 3-year-old colt fall short of his potential, Bush must now find more challenging tasks to determine what Get Stormy is capable of.
Under the guidance of jockey Javier Castellano, Get Stormy notched his first graded stakes victory Sunday when he drew off in the lane for a 11/2-length win in the Grade III, $125,000 Bryan Station Stakes over a mile on the Keeneland turf.
The Get Stormy that won his third straight race Sunday is a far cry from the bay colt that began the season with five consecutive losses — all coming on the turf.
Get Stormy followed a 3-length, gate-to-wire win in a 1-mile allowance race at Saratoga in July with another front-running victory in the Lure Stakes in August.
"He's a much thicker, heavier kind of colt now and is carrying his weight better than he was at the start of the year," Bush said. "He's just maturing, he's a late developer.
"We thought this race was a little bit of a baby step and he really passed it with flying colors so we have to think about his next race."
Though Get Stormy set the pace in his last two wins, he rated in second on the outside path Sunday as Major Marvel sailed through the opening half-mile in :48.16.
As Major Marvel gave way at the top of the lane, Get Stormy came up between horses and drew off handily to cover the distance in 1:37.49 over a yielding turf.
"There was a little speed in the race and I just left him close to the pace and he responded," said Castellano, who won three races on the card. "He likes it either way, soft or firm. Today he handled it so well."
Rescue Squad made a strong rally from fifth to grab second with favorite Kinsella flattening out to finish third.
"He ran well until the final turn and then he came off the bridle and really struggled with the going," said Kent Desormeaux, jockey of Kinsella, who had won two of three career starts coming in.
Owned and bred by Mary Sullivan, Get Stormy has now won four of 11 lifetime starts with $207,559 in earnings.
Although all four of his victories have come at the 1-mile distance, Bush said the improving colt could be ready to stretch his abilities.
"We definitely will try and stretch him out at some point," Bush said. "I'm real happy I picked this race because I think the quality of the field was a little better, so I didn't want to experiment too much with the distance until we passed this test.
"Now maybe we can think about something longer."