Apr 022019
 

By ITCH

Millions of dollars worth of Simulated horse flesh has been carefully packed and flown away from this weekend’s Sand Castle Racing Festival, a tumultuous event that saw champions fall and new stars emerge.

Speaking for my colleagues at the Black Type Bugler, our coverage of this event has been thorough and professional. As such, I thought I would throw one final coal on the fire of research with a recap of the races in Dubai.

Just for fun, we’ll keep a running Equinics-style point total to see which residencies would have earned gold, silver and bronze had the Sand Castle Festival been a residency competition. As in Equinics, that’s five points for gold, three for silver and one for bronze.

SAND CASTLE CLASSIC

The biggest race of them all was among the first to run at 2:40 p.m. on Saturday. In the interest of honest reporting, this writer will confess that he was rooting for both LOOKIN AT NUREY and DOUBTFUL TROUBLE, the powerful entry trained by my chat room pal Kody. Last fall, after having played for many years without a Grade 1 win, Kody pulled off one of the greatest training coups imaginable when he ran 1-2 in the Breeders’ Bowl Classic. We were hoping for a repeat in the Sand Castle Classic, but it was not to be. Lookin At Nurey got beat out of the gate by MILTON THE MONSTER. Trained by a little-known trainer named Aggs, who has only five barns in a small, unaffiliated operation, Milton the Monster very nearly pulled off a giant upset in the Classic. He raced off to a lead that stretched more than five lengths at one point. He got within several hundred yards of the wire, but his tired legs gave out, and he just could not reach it in time, tantalizingly close as it got. Instead, he settled for the show money after a brave effort. Stockswami added another significant championship to his impressive training resume, as his terrific GOLD WAR FRONT ($47) outkicked Willyam’s CLAYHESTHEPOTTER. Milton the Monster had dominated the running until late stretch, when they all were coming at the very end. Gold War Front, a 4yo scratch-bred bay son of War Front (Seeking the Gold X Deputy Minister) showed his true grit in getting up at the last moment to win. What a great training job by Stockswami to have his 3yo champion ready for his 4yo campaign. This may be an iron horse to flash back to the old days of the Sim! In six straight Grade 1 races, Gold War Front has been first or second in every one except the BB Classic. He got his revenge for that defeat on Saturday, and rises all the way to No. 1 in the division. Hats off to the great champion horse, Gold War Front! His trainer, Stockswami, is an indepedent, as is the trainer of the third-place runner. Only Willyam earned points for a residency here. That’s three points for a silver medal for the GR Simsters.

Indies: 6
GR Simsters: 3
SAND CASTLE GOLDEN SPRINT

Jacklad’s HE’S IN SHAPE ($14.60) rose to the top of the dirt sprint division with a one-length victory in the $1.5 million Golden Sprint. Breaking widest of all in post No. 14, the big gray 5yo son of Tapit found a nice trip in fourth despite his post. He got past the other closers who were hoping to catch pace-setter NYS TROOPERS TOWN. Doodlegbs tried to get the gold for the Universal Racing Club, but settled for second after watching his horse give a brave effort. Lenny’s THE BOSUN’S BLADE was last at the second call, then made a mad late dash for the show money. Jacklad and All-Stars Racing take their place at the top of the podium with a fine win by He’s in Shape.

Indies: 6
All-Stars Racing: 5
GR Simsters: 4
URC: 3
SAND CASTLE TURF SPRINT

This was the Senior Citizens Special. There were three 6yos in the race, and two of them hit the board. One of them won! It was Lenny’s NAGAGLIIV ($27.50), a scratch-bred bay son of Smart Strike (Danzig X Dubawi). What a great training job by Lenny on this older horse, as he just would not give up that one day he could hold his speed in a graded race. Nagagliiv had shown speed and contended in three prior graded tries. But all three times, he faded late. He never faded on Saturday. Nagagliiv broke evenly with BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN and fought hard with that one for the early lead. He showed that one who was boss at the halfway point, then kept on going to win by three-quarters of a length over Ksparrow1′s ZOO BONES. Trapper07′s 6yo APOYANDO closed from far back to complete the old guy tri. For purposes of our unofficial medal count, that’s five for the GR Simsters, three for the Indies and one for Blazing Saddles.

GR Simsters: 9
Indies: 9
All-Stars Racing: 5
URC: 3
Blazing Saddles: 1
SAND CASTLE GOLDEN TURF CLASSIC

The Turtle stayed in his shell. Much to the dismay of his many fans, SPICED TURTLE never fired in the Golden Turf Classic, ceding the stage to Stoners’ BOLDEN BIDDER ($21.50). Bolden Bidder, a 4yo scratch-bred bay gelding by Teofilo (Dynaformer X Norther Dancer) is the new king of the long turf division. He has thoroughly dominated three straight Grade 1 races at 12 furlongs, none moreso than the Golden Turf Classic, which he turned into his personal romp. In winning by almsot five, Bolden Bidder earned a 120 speed figure, a giant number for a mile and a half. To put the number in perspective, Spiced Turtle only went that fast three times in his world record career. Bolden Bidder is a new superstar, and it will be interesting to see if he can keep crushing these huge fields. Tenpoint’s FRANKLY SCARY, the reigning BB Turf champ, ran a good race to restore his form while second. I AM AN ANIMAL reversed a poor spate of form for Fetti by running third. Unofficial medal count: Five for Stoners’ residency, Old School Racing Stables; three for All-Stars, and one for the Indies.

Indies: 10
GR Simsters: 9
All-Stars: 8
Old-School Racing Stables: 5
URC: 3
Blazing Saddles: 1
SAND CASTLE DERBY — DERBY LOCK PREP

In the only race of the Sand Castle Festival with a little something extra on the line, it was Handshobby’s ABOVE THRESHOLD ($11.40) who earned that coveted spot in the starting gate for the Bluegrass Derby. Above Threshold, a 3yo light gray son of Tapit, out of the graded-placed Uncle Mo mare MOLOVE MO PROBLEMS, hit $1 million in earnings in winning the $1.5 million Sand Castle Derby. What a thrill it must be for Handshobby and his mates at All-Stars Racing, who had a huge day at the Sand Castle Festival and saw the champion of their residency stake, the ASR Championship Day, go forward to qualify for the Bluegrass Derby. Above Threshold dominated with another front-running victory, scoring by almost two lengths. This horse could not look any better than he does right now. He’s won four in a row, the last three with big numbers, and all by large margins. Second was Stockswami’s MY AWESOME KING, last year’s EOY award winner in the 2yo turf division. It’s another great day and another great training job by the emerging force Stockswami. There cannot have been too many winners of the Breeders’ Bowl Juvenile Turf reach serious contention on the Triple Crown trail the following spring. Still No. 2 in the 3yo turf route division, My Awesome King also is No. 13 in the dirt route division, on the verge of qualifying for the Bluegrass Derby. This is an amazingly versatile horse! The only one of six divisions in which he is not ranked in the Top 15 is the dirt sprint division. Congratulations to Stockswami. My Awesome King is an amazing horse. Third was Frontyard’s FORREST WHITAKER. Unofficial medal count: All-Stars five, with Indies both second and third.

Indies: 14
All-Stars: 13
GR Simsters: 9
Old-School Racing Stables: 5
URC: 3
Blazing Saddles: 1
THE DESERT LADY STAYER

And now, we reach the portion of the Sand Castle program which had hearts leaping. Both the Desert Lady Stayer and the following race, the Fee Duty, featured photo finishes. The Fee Duty photo was your normal variety, including two horses only. By comparison, the Desert Lady Stayer may have been the wilder affair. First of all, Robd’s EURYDICE set a torrid pace, running off to lead by more than eight lengths at exactly a mile and an eighth into the race. That was tremendous, but there was still more than half a mile to go. That’s when eventual winner WAR CAT CADET ($20.80) took up the chase and began cutting into the considerable lead. With every step she took, however, she was followed just off her hip by the amazing 7yo mare SARA CHIEZA. Even at her advanced age of 7, Zampatelo’s daughter of Stay Gold was threatening to win a Grade 1 on Sand Castle Racing Festival day. Down the stretch they came, and as they got close to the wire, the crowd in Dubai held its breath. Could Eurydice make it in time? The three of them hit the wire together, and Adschus08′s War Cat Cadet was in front, barely. All three of the top three finishers earned identical speed figures of 109. Unofficial medal count: Minnesota Testbarn 5, URC 3, Hispano Parlante 1.

Indies: 14
All-Stars: 13
GR Simsters: 9
URC: 6
Minnesota Testbarn: 5
Old-School Racing Stables: 5
Blazing Saddles: 1
Hispano Parlante: 1
SAND CASTLE FEE DUTY

As mentioned, there was another fantastic finish in store in the Fee Duty. HAACK’S ARROGATE ($33.40), despite breaking between horses and jostled a bit early, still had a champion’s big accelerator button when it counted. Jockey O A Haack called upon his horse at the halfway point of the 8.5-furlong Fee Duty. Haack’s Arrogate, EOY winner as a 3yo, showed he wants the same kind of badge as a 4yo. He took off resolutely after Latekick’s Furious Yankee, another son of Giant’s Causeway, was running his eyeballs out on the lead. Through fractions of 45 2/5 and 1:08 1/5, Furious Yankee had taken over after chasing a torrid pace and led by more than a length at one point in mid-stretch. However, that was a champion he was trying to hold off and Haack’s Arrogate had his measure. Haack has a true superstar in Haack’s Arrogate. He is now 10 of 12 with earnings of $5.4 million. This year’s rendition of the Sand Castle Racing Festival may be remembered for the gigantic performances by emerging superstars like Haack’s Arrogate. Our show horse in the Fee Duty was SHADY RAY. Additions to the unofficial point totals are five for Hispano Parlante, three for URC and one for Racing HQ.

Indies: 14
All-Stars 13
GR Simsters: 9
URC: 9
Hispano Parlante: 6
Minnesota Testbarn: 5
Old-School: 5
Blazing Saddles: 1
Racing HQ: 1
DESERT STAMINA CUP

A couple of prominent residencies finally saw trainers have success in the Desert Stamina Cup. Vyz put MIDAS on the board with the winner, FINKE VOYAGER ($19.90), a 5yo bay son of Sea the Stars. Spinround got her grateful mates at Empire State Racing off the schneid with a second-place run from TEN LIL WARLORDS. It was yet another fantastic finish, the third of three to end the Sand Castle races. Jockey B. Scott had done his work, getting a fantastic ground-saving trip at midpack with the eventual winner. Finke Voyager looked like he could not lose, taking easy aim at the winners while galloping to the front. Briefly, B. Scott had visions of the winner’s circle. Soon, he was down and driving for his life, all-out to get to the wire first. He did, by a diminishing half-length. Spinny took the hard-luck defeat pretty hard, knowing how close her horse had come. After all, it was five lengths back to the show horse, DK Young’s LONG FOR MONTANA. Unnoficial point additons are five for MIDAS, three for ESR and one for URC.

Final unofficial total:
Indies: 14
All-Stars: 13
URC: 10
GR Simsters: 9
Hispano Parlante: 6
MIDAS: 5
Minnesota Testbarn: 5
Old-School: 5
ESR: 3
Blazing Saddles: 1
Racing HQ: 1

This is not a result that would please Walter Sobchak, that famous enemy of the Nihilists in The Big Lebowski. Walter was the kind of man who insisted that you stand for something, and would have cast aspersion upon the independent trainers who narrowly ruled the day at the Sand Castle Racing Festival.

Specifically, Sobchak would have pointed the gun of blame at Stockswami, whom he would have accused of going over the line with eight points for the Independent team, which unwittingly won an unofficial gold medal. How do you undo that? They never meant to do it in the first place. Who can unlearn the facts that I’ve learned? I sit in my chair and my synapses burn.

“I don’t like Phish, dude,” I can hear Sobchak’s voice in a sequel to The Big Lebowski now.

Congratulations to all the winning trainers and see you next year in Simulated Dubai!!!!

 

 

 

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  4 Responses to “RECAP: Sand Castle Racing Festival”

  1. Thank you for the article Itch. Amazing job! Congratulations to all the winners of the Festival.

    • Haack, I am glad I did this recap because now I know about HAACK’S ARROGATE.

      Es mucho caballo, mi amigo.

      And, special gracias to all my Sim friends who are always so kind with their comments on my work. Please share your generous comments with all of our writers.

  2. Good stuff itch! Congrats to all the winners and well done asr crew…Top residency on the day!

  3. Love the medal tally. Fantastic showing by the indie runners. Nice bronze for URC congrats comrades. I failed miserably in my quest for points as my morning line favorite in the Desert Lady Stayer ran her worse dirt route race in 23 months. I mean that takes real effort to put up that bad of a race. Two years in the making I suppose. Maddening.