TORONTO, June 28, 2018—El Tormenta, owned by Sam-Son Farm, was eligible for Saturday’s Queen’s Plate. But the son of Stormy Atlantic, conditioned by Gail Cox, will take a path of lesser resistance when he goes postward in Saturday’s $100,000 Charlie Barley Stakes.
The Charlie Barley, an open one-mile overnight turf stakes for 3-year-olds, attracted a field of seven.
And, El Tormenta’s task will not be an easy one with the powerful Mark Casse stable sending out the quartet of Machtree, Blueblood, Ride A Comet and Elusive Quality.
El Tormenta has seen action just once this season, winning a one-mile maiden turf race in impressive fashion.
The Sam-Son Farm homebred was wearing blinkers for the first time after finishing on the fringes in two six-furlong turf outings last season.
“He came out of his last race really well, and he’s worked well since,” said Cox. “I think he’s coming into this good.”
Cox believes that El Tormenta’s improvement can be traced to factors beyond the equipment change.
“Being a 3-year-old instead of a 2-year-old, and being gelded,” she said. “I think he’s a really nice horse; I like him a lot. This is a big jump up but if he runs back to his last race he should be tough.”
Sorting out the Casse contenders takes some doing with each colt coming in with differing credentials.
Machtree enters the Charlie Barley off a solid second-place finish here in the Grade 3 Marine over 1 1/16 miles on the Tapeta.
The son of top turf sire Kitten’s Joy also has won twice on that surface, capturing a 1 1/16 mile race when debuting at Saratoga last summer and annexing his first condition over about 7 ½ furlongs of turf at Gulfstream this winter.
Ride A Comet also is a two-time turf winner, having scored over a mile at the Fair Grounds this winter and then romped in an open seven-furlong race which served as the prep for the Charlie Barley in his Woodbine debut.
Elusive Mischief won his maiden over about 5 ½ furlongs of turf at the Fair Grounds this winter and then romped through his first condition when making his local debut at 6 ½ furlongs on the Tapeta.
Rounding out the field will be the Tale of Vienna, who finished third in last year’s Grade 3 Grey Stakes t 1 1/16 miles on the Tapeta, and Flight Deck, who finished a troubled third behind Ride A Comet in the prep.
Charlie Barley, who gives this race its name, was Canada’s champion turf horse in 1989 and runner-up to Canadian Triple Crown winner With Approval in the 3-year-old male category. He retired following his 1990 campaign with a 10-for-24 record including eight stakes wins, eight stakes-placings, and almost $1 million in earnings.
FIELD FOR THE $100,000 CHARLIE BARLEY STAKES
1/Flight Deck/David Moran/Mike DePaulo
2/Blueblood/ Rafael Hernandez/Mark Casse
3/Elusive Mischief/Florent Geroux/Mark Casse
4/Machtree/John Velazquez/Mark Casse
5/El Tormenta/Luis Contreras/Gail Cox
6/Ride A Comet/Patrick Husbands/Mark Casse
7/Tale of Vienna/Omar Moreno/Laurie Silvera