Trainers are flocking to Dubai this weekend for the big grade races held in The Sand Castle series which has over $17 million in purses up for grabs. This article focus is on the Sand Castle Golden Sprint which is open to horses age 4 and older and the reward for winning is the lion’s share of the $1,500,000 purse. The weather people have a very remote chance of rain coming so I’m betting on a fast and dry surface for this dirt race which will be at a distance of 6 furlongs. Falchion will be running yet again in this race, looking to add on to his 2017 and 2018 victories and defend his crown. Here’s a look at the field:
1 DAZE OFMY YOUTH owned by Gmoniez 26/1
This five year old is a scratch bred where Tale of the Cat was used as the sire supported by dam-sire Saint Ballado and dam-dam sire Miswaki.
Over his career, Daze Ofmy Youth has picked up six wins over 23 starts and is just shy of having $400,000 in earnings. Sixteen of his starts have been in listed stakes which includes a set of three G3 races. Three of his six wins have been captured in stake races.
We have to look back to August of last year where he hit the board twice in a pair of allowance races trying to regain form for stake races which followed a rough tenth place finish in a listed race. After having decent places, he moved back to listed stake races three weeks later and looked to be injured as this was his fourth race in less than two months finishing last with a laboring 13 speed. He was sidelined and nursed back into health and entered into the G3 Wicker Sofa where he pulled off an upset at 9/1 and winning by a narrow quarter stride. He’s a longshot in this one, climbing the ranks. The 106 speed in his first grade win was decent, but his foes here are pumping out 110+ numbers. The rest was needed and to strike gold in his first start back in graded competition was impressive. Second race after the layoff could be even better and with an even better payoff.
2 K’S NEW FINNANCIER owned by Zedwith04 5/1
K’s Finnancier is the mother to this champ and she was a G2 winner during her racing days and won 13 times over 44 races with 5 wins in stake/graded races. At the age of 17 she has produced only two children with this entrant being the only stake winner of the pair.
K’s New Finnancier took close to a year and a half off between October 2016 and March 2018. The long, long rest produce great results. When he last ran in 2016, he had won his last three starts. Winning resumed in 2018 as he added another four straight wins, all coming in allowance races. The streak of 7 straight ended in his first listed stake race where he missed the top spot by a long neck, finishing second. He would come up short again in his next start before finally getting that stake win in November.
His form remains solid as he concluded 2018 with a strong second in the G2 Deep South Sprint and hitting a career best speed of 117. After this race, he took a bit of a break and returned in February to a softer allowance race where he spun off a 116 speed and finished second. With 11 wins under his belt in 22 starts, and ITM 19 times, he is a solid performer. Since April, 2018, all his starts have had speeds of 110 or better with the exception of one. He’s ready to strike again and add to his $489,000 in purses.
3 DOWN AT THE ARCAD owned by Planoaxius 19/1
A Cinderalla story surrounds this runner who is a cheap scratch bred composed of Black Tide as sire, Sakura Bakushin O as DS and Not A Single Doubt as DDS. As of this writing, individuals could replicate this breeding line for about 150 credits.
This winner of 5 races in 13 starts has netted $325,000 in earnings. All five wins have been on the dirt with none on the turf where he has raced three times. Eight starts have been in stake races and he has delivered three wins in the higher class.
He looks to be in good form coming into this race. He picked up a listed stake win at the beginning of December with a 108 speed fighting his way from a mid-field position to take the win on the line by a quarter stride. On New Years Day, an improved speed of 111 was garnered as he changed his mid-field racing style to getting into an early front end battle before taking control of the field and winning by over a length. His most recent start was over this oval where he again ran a 111 speed appearing in his first grade race (G3) in the Shimmer Stakes. Rallying from the mid-field spot he would finish second, a stride off the winner. Current form is very good and timing may be right and Down The Arcade just may get that G1 win.
4 SIN DUDA ALGUNA owned by Haack 19/1
Consistent Sin Duda Alguna is the son out of stake winning Indudable, who was an 8 time winner during her racing career with Sin being her first child.
In 13 races, this winner of almost $350,000 has hit the board in all but one start and is a frequent visitor to the winner’s circle, a place he has passed through 8 times. He finished the 2019 season in a nice way, winning four of his last five starts with one second and two of the wins in listed stakes.
He kicked off the 2019 season with a third in the G3 Shindig Sprint making up 6 lengths late in the race and under 2 strides behind the winner which was a fine result in his first grade level race. His last start was in early March where he scored a career best 111 speed and flew to the wire to win by a quarter stride with something left in the tank at the end. His speeds have been on the upswing hitting 110 to 111 in his last three starts. Although a longshot here, he offers a ton of value and his third place finish in his debut in grade level racing should not be ignored and this runner may light the tote board.
5 GUTHEA IBEX owned by Tulloch 9/1
This is the first of two children borne to Guthea Ibex, a mare who raced a dozen times with five wins who retired upon winning the G3 Uncle Vernon.
A win here will add a substantial amount to the $228,000 that Guthea Ibex has earned thus far. He has raced 12 times and brings in a record of 5-3-2. Five of the races have been stake quality of which he has one win. He’s generally a mid-field runner who waits patiently to make his move and this style has worked well for him.
Over Guthea’s last four starts, dating back to last August, he has finished first or second in each race which is packed with a pair of allowance races, a listed stake and a grade level run. Speeds have been advancing with each start from 106 to a recent 111 which was notched in his only grade race appearance, the Uncle Vernon. In this race, he ran strong as he advanced from 6 back to secure the win by almost two lengths. He rewarded supporters at the 15/1 odds and in this race has secured more support as he enters at 9/1. His form has been strong of late but this will be his first start of 2019 and whether he will be ready or not after the long rest is the biggest question mark.
6 NYS TROOPERS TOWN owned by Doodlegbs
One of the young ones in the field at age 4, NYS Troopers Town is a scratch bred with Speightstown as sire and strong underline support from Danzig (DS) and Storm Cat (DDS).
A speedy front runner, NYS Troopers Town has mastered the ability to get to the lead and stay there. He’s won ten of his 16 lifetime races which has netted north of $600k thus far in his career. Of his 16 starts, all but three have been in listed or grade level races.
He enters off a career best speed of 113 which came in the G3 Shindig Sprint and coasted to the line to win by a length and a quarter after carrying a 4 stride advantage into the stretch. This was his first grade win in four tries. Prior to this victory, he raced in a pair of listed stakes and pulled off wins in each of those with the same one and a quarter length victory margin. One of those wins came on an offtrack (he has won both offtrack starts) and this could be an advantage in the very unlikely event some shows pass through. He is on a three win stretch right now, seeking another notch and if you like front runners, this is one who will fight to the end.
7 GREYWOLFS HONOR owned by Graywolf6 23/1
This is one of 16 children out of Land Slam who is not only a grade winner but also an Eclipse winner and Hall of Famer. Five of the children have won stake races which is inclusive of three grade winners.
Although Greywolfs Honor has only won 3 of 22 starts, he has collected $814,000 in purses. He has the rare distinction of breaking his maiden in a grade level race back in 2017 in the G2 Horsehead Juvenile and then followed that up with a G1 win in the Hopeless stakes which both races account for the bulk of his earnings.
Things have turned in a bad way for Greywolfs as he has been held winless for the past year with the last win coming in an allowance race. Since that time, he’s tried 11 times in the grade level and finished third three times. Over his last four starts, speeds in the range of 102 to 108 have been recorded with a best finish of eighth. Despite having a superstar as a mom and getting those quick early career grade level wins, his ability to compete successfully in grade level competition no longer seems to be there. He may need some class relieve to build that confidence level back up again.
8 FALCHION owned by Canyongate 12/1
Falchion is a six year old who is a scratch bred horse with Tapit as sire, Storm Cat as DS and Alydar as DDS. He has won 13 of 28 career starts and bankrolled more than $3.6 million in his career.
Falchion won his first Sand Castle Golden Sprint in 2017 with the second highest odds in the field (17/1) and rallied late to win on the line with a 118 speed. This would turn out to be the third in a stretch of four straight wins. The finish in the 2018 Golden Sprint finish would be even tighter on the line and Falchion would be ruled the winner in a photo finish. This time he was the narrow favorite and struck a 114 speed.
So here he is again and seeking a third bite of the apple. This time it looks to be a tougher task. The Golden Sprint win in 2018 was the last time he has won a race and he’s hit the board twice in six starts since that time. He picked up a second in the Three Bender (G1) immediately after the win but has been shut down since, at least until last month when he dropped into an allowance race to build up some confidence but the third place finish may not get the desired effect. Speeds have dropped to the low 100-end and while I would love to see that third win come, it will take all his heart to gain it.
9 STARSPANGLEDSLEW owned by Tees 9/2
This is the 10th of 11 children out of Miss Furious who was a listed stake winner during her very long racing career that included 79 starts with 13 wins. Three of her children have earned wins at the stake level and this entrant is the only one to win a graded race.
Starspangledslew has won 15 times in his 23 starts and has been in the money 19 times which has profited him to the tune of $711,000 in purses. He has been on the board in every start since August, 2018 and includes a total of eight races. He has visited the winner’s circle six time during this time span which now includes a current win streak of three straight.
His form looks very sharp. As mentioned above, he has a win streak going that started last September where he won a listed stake at 7.5f with a blazing speed of 120. He followed that up with another fairly easy win with a solid 110 speed in another listed stake in late November. He advanced in December into the G2 Deep South Sprint, making his first grade race appearance a golden one with a 118 speed and a win. He’s a midfield runner who has performed extremely well and on paper looks to be a contender. The only concern is he’s been sidelined for nearly three months but somehow I don’t think the rest break will be a negative.
10 GOOD GRADES CADET owned by Cadet 6/1
Mean Grade is the G1, million dollar winning mare who is the mother to this entrant. She won 16 races in 56 starts and topped her career with a 123 speed. Of her four children, two have won in grade races.
Good Grades Cadet has grossed $435,000 in purses over his 19 starts with seven wins and hitting the board a very nice 15 times. Thanks to his mother, high speeds have worked its way into his blood as he has hit speeds of 110 or better 9 times, that’s nearly half of his races.
This past September, Good Grades Cadet earned his first stake win in a listed event using his slow-start/fast-close racing style and posting a 112 speed. The win moved him into the G3 Strong Leader where he quickly picked up his first grade level win, in his first grade level race, hitting a huge number of 120 for speed in the G3 Strong Leader. He wrapped up 2018 with a third in the G2 Deep South Sprint and 111 speed. Shipping over to Dubai in January, he closed hard in the G3 Shindig Sprint, finishing second by just over a length and a 110 speed slicing a 10 stride deficit way down. This powerhouse is one to be watching.
11 THE BOSUN’S BLADE owned by Lenny 271
Yevgin, the mother to this colt, had a dismal racing career with only $26,000 in winnings over her 13 race career which netted 2 victories. While she did not deliver on the track, she did deliver in the delivery room. Of the 10 children that have raced on the track, 6 have become stake winners which includes two grade level winners.
The Bosun’s Blade is a four year old colt with 9 wins in 17 starts and $1.2 million in purses. One thing this colt lacks is alertness. When the gate doors open, he’s not sharp in exiting the gate and will quickly trail the field. And he needs lots of encouragement to get going as often it’s not until the ¾-pole that you see him moving. In the Iceberg (G1) for instance, he was last in the field and barely nudged to the 11th spot by the third call. He rallied to get third, slicing the 10-length deficit to 3 and finishing third.
His recent form looks fine as he snagged a win in the G1 Double F Memorial in November (moving from 12th at third call) and a nice third in the G3 Shimmer Stakes over the Dubai oval last month, again from a back end 13th spot at the third call. His late speed makes him a danger and expect him to fly pass many horses late in the race.
12 CULTURAL CRITIC owned by Wrecks 10/1
This is a scratch bred six year old with a strong breeding line that consists of Giant’s Causeway as sire, Seattle Slew is seated as dam sire and Alydar in the rear as dam-dam sire.
Cultural Critic has been ITM 17 of 19 races and finished first and second 8 times each. Over $560,000 has been bankrolled thus far and its hard to believe that this speedy front runner will be making only his third start in a stakes race. After hitting speeds of 110+ in two races back in 2016, he took nearly a year and a half off from racing to reappear in the gate in 2018 where he quickly scored wins in his first two starts back to the track.
Over his last four starts, he rocked a 116 career best in an allowance in August then took his first step into a stake race (listed) in September with a gate to wire win and a 115 speed. Wrapping up 2018 in the November running of the (G1) Double F Memorial, Cultural would get caught in the stretch and finished second. He has since rested only to return in early March to prep in an allowance race where he finished second as the odds on favorite and a more subtle 104 speed. The speed was a bit lower than what was hoped for as finishing second was a tad disappointing. Hopefully this race will help refreshen Cultural and better things will be in store for this runner.
13 DETESTABLE owned by Rfrankel 13/1
Grade 2 winner Despicable is the mother to this racer and over her career she won 14 of 36 starts and amassed over $1.1 million in winnings. She won 5 grade races and 2 listed events. Excluding her 2019 baby, she has five other children with one grade and one listed stake winner.
Detestable has made his mother proud as in her shadows he has won 7 of 15 starts and nearly $750,000 in purses. Three of those wins came as a 2 year old and in his first three starts which made him seem invincible. That invincibility ended when he lost a photo in a G2 Vermont BB Juvey race.
But that was back in 2017 and rolling the clock forward to August of 2018, he picked up a listed win with a 108 speed which came on the heels of a second by a quarter stride in the G2 Carry Forward. Looking towards the Breeders’ Bowl he leaped into the G3 Bluegrass Cup where he powered his way to a win by over a length and a career best 116. Into the Breeders’ Bowl he went and an off-track awaited him. He slumbered to the back quarter of the field and found some footing and managed to get fourth as a steep 21/1 shot. Detestable made his first start over the Dubai surface in February going in the G3 Shimmer Stakes and put pressure on the early leader. He took the lead after the half but could not hold on during the stretch run, finishing fifth. There are not a lot of speedsters in this field and if he can settle in just off the front guys, he may find an opening to take advantage of.
14 HE’S IN SHAPE owned by Jacklad 6/1
This is the son of Out of Shape, and Eclipse winning mare who earned 12 wins during her racing days. She earned a tidy sum of $2.3 million during her career and notched a win in the Breeders’ Bowl.
He’s in Shape has tried to match his mother’s result, at least with a Breeders’ Bowl win but has come up short with a 2nd in 2017 and a 3rd in 2018. Gotta give him some credit as he’s surpassed his mother’s purse earnings with $3.1 million of his own. Back in September, he scored a win in the Iceberg (G1) with an awesome 120 speed. He’s followed that up with a pair of thirds and a second but things have simmered down a bit in 2019.
Racing over the Dubai track in January in the Shindig Sprint (G3) he held the fourth spot for a good chunk of time but steadily surrendered ground to the leaders and concluded the race in eighth. He shipped to Florida to take on the Florida BB Sprint Championship and ran near the front for most of the race but refused to respond to the whip and finished fourth, not looking like a serious threat although the speed numbers improved to 112 from the awful previous race of 103.
The recent fourth place finish is very similar to the fourth he ran last September in the G1 Foregone, the race that preceded his 120 speed. Could this be a sign of a big race coming and maybe another notch to his 7 lifetime wins? We’ll see…..
I like Good Grades Cadet in this one. This may be the big one that the horse has been looking for. He was second in the Shindig and will face some of the runners in this race, including the winner of that race.
Starspangledslew looks to make it 4 in a row and has been in hot form. Would not be surprised if he does it.
K’s New Finnancier has solid numbers and been a long time since he’s finished worse than second. May do better than 3rd.