HOT SPRINGS – River Ridge Ranch LLC.’s Storm Advisory ran away with Saturday’s $125,000 King Cotton Stakes, leaving five other rivals in his dust, including 2-5 favorite Ivan Fallunovalot. Ivan Fallunovalot, who was seeking his third straight King Cotton victory, finished fourth.
Breaking sharply under jockey Geovanni Franco, Storm Advisory assumed the early lead and proceeded through fractions of :22 1/5 and :45 1/5 for the first half mile. The winner maintained the advantage entering the stretch, shook clear and drew off to win by 2Â¾ lengths over Recount in 1:09 4/5 for six furlongs over a fast track. Apprehender, who had won the King Cotton in 2013 and ’14, came from last after a wide trip around the turn to get third.
Ivan Fallunovalot, Rockport Kat and Conquest Twister completed the order of finish. Mr. Z, Crewman and Helooksthepart were scratched.
“With the way he’s been training and coming along, it wasn’t a surprise today,” said Robertino Diodoro, who is currently Oaklawn’s leading trainer with. “It was a surprise was him being on the lead. The plan was to sit a little bit off of it, but he broke sharp and away he went. We’ll take it one step at a time, but obviously one of the goals would be to make the Hot Springs (March 11) and then the Count Fleet (April 15).”
Storm Advisory, a 5-year-old Weigelia horse bred in Pennsylvania, improved his career record to 8-4-4 in 32 starts. He returned $26, $8.60 and $7.60 at odds of 12-1.