FARMINGTON — On a day when heavy winds and the threat of rain persisted, it seemed only fitting that Stormin Creek would take advantage of the situation, winning Monday's $44,800 Russell and Helen Foutz Distaff Handicap impressively at SunRay Park and Casino.
Under a sharp ride from Norberto Arroyo Jr., Stormin Creek raced just off the early pace before sweeping up and past heavily favored My Bikini Fell Off to earn a victory in the 6 1-2 furlong dash.
A 6-year-old New Mexico-bred mare by Tricky Creek, Stormin Creek snapped a five-race losing streak, and in the process, also made amends for her only other start over this course, when she stumbled at the start and dropped jockey Alfredo Juarez Jr., in this same race in July.
An 11-time winner from 35 career starts, Stormin Creek stopped the clock in one minute and18.43 seconds while earning more than $26,800 for owners Pacifica West Stables, bringing her career earnings to over $189,000.
High winds dominated the racing during the day, with gusts topping out at 45 miles per hour, at times making it difficult to see with dirt sweeping across the track.
"It's not fun out there, let me tell you," Arroyo said. "But I knew I had a lot of horse under me around the far turn and once we got into the stretch, she had a lot left."
Stormin Creek was prominent throughout, racing just behind dueling leaders My Bikini Fell Off and Misscharlypotatoes.
Around the far turn, My Bikini Fell Off, ridden by Ry Eikleberry, took command and opened up a clear lead at the top of the lane before Arroyo roused Stormin Creek on the outside, grabbing the lead inside the 16th pole and winning by 2 1/4 lengths.
Trained by Dick Cappellucci, Stormin Creek was sent off as the third betting choice at 3.60-to-1, returning $9.20 to her winning backers.
My Bikini Fell Off was second, nearly two lengths clear of Little Vidalia. Misscharlypotatoes and Sherry's Jewel rounded out the order of finish. Renewed Vows and My Dandy Girl were both scratched earlier in the day.
Live racing at SunRay Park and Casino resumes Friday with a first post time of 3 p.m.
Steve Bortstein hosts "First Sports" and "The Fast Track" on Fox Sports 1340 AM and 93.9 FM and on iHeartRadio. He serves as paddock show host at SunRay Park & Casino and is a voting member of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. Follow him @fox1340am on Twitter.