Conquest Tsunami tops trifecta for Miller in Daytona Stakes

ARCADIA, Calif. -- Last fall, Conquest Tsunami was moved from trainer Mark Casse's stable in Florida to Peter Miller in California at the insistence of owner Gary Barber.

The transfer has turned Conquest Tsunami into a graded stakes winner.

In Saturday's Grade 3 Daytona Stakes, Conquest Tsunami ($12.40) led throughout the turf sprint to give Miller a sweep of the first three positions. Stormy Liberal, the upset winner of the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint at Del Mar last November, finished second, 1 1/4 lengths in front of Calculator, the 9-5 favorite who won the restricted Clocker's Corner Stakes on Jan. 28.

Conquest Tsunami, ridden by Victor Espinoza, ran about 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:12.03. A 6-year-old gelding, Conquest Tsunami is unbeaten in two starts on the hillside turf course, having won an allowance race with a $62,500 claiming option in his California debut on Jan. 20.

"I wanted firm ground, and I wanted down the hill," Barber said. "He's always shown great ability."

Espinoza had Conquest Tsunami in front by at least a length throughout, setting a decent pace of 21.99 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 44.09 for a half-mile. Conquest Tsunami led by two lengths with a furlong to go and won by 2 1/2 lengths.

Tombelaine finished fourth, followed by Perfectly Majestic, What a View, and Faboozi.

The $150,690 Daytona Stakes was the first start for Stormy Liberal since an 11th-place finish in the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin Racecourse in December.

The Daytona was a career milestone for the 51-year-old Miller - his first sweep of a trifecta in a graded stakes.

"It feels unbelievable," Miller said. "They all showed up. We were blessed today."

Last November at Del Mar, Miller swept the exacta in the BC Turf Sprint with Stormy Liberal and Richard's Boy. In the Grade 3 Sham Stakes here in January 2015, Miller finished first, second, and fourth with Calculator, Rock Shandy, and St. Joe Bay.

Conquest Tsunami was purchased for $140,000 at the 2016 Keeneland November breeding stock sale and has won two of seven starts for Barber.

In his career, Conquest Tsunami has won 8 of 22 starts and earned $503,066. Earlier in his career, Conquest Tsunami won consecutive sprint stakes for 2-year-olds at Woodbine in 2014 -- the Victoria Stakes and Colin Stakes -- when owned by Conquest Stable.