A full field of 14 sprinters have congregated in Dubai in search of the top prize in the 2020 running of the Sand Castle Turf Sprint. The morning line odds maker has tabbed RYAN’S CHOICE as the favorite at a gaudy 6-1. The lukewarm favorite will take on a unique cast of characters as they compete for the $750,000 purse.
1) EXCELLEMONTE – monte0 – 23/1
Running from the rail is this 7 year old son of Excellebration. One of two horses coming from the Monte stables entered in this race. Won last time out in the listed Seeking The Lass Turf Dash going 5 1/2 furlongs. Making second start of the season after an 11-month layoff. His mother QUEEN BET was a multiple graded stakes winning runner out of Strike The Gold. That pedigree combined with the opportunity to improve second off the long layoff are reasons to consider this runner in your exotics.
2) DRAKON’S HORROR – fairhaven4 – 10/1
After beginning the year with two listed stakes, this son of Dubawi faltered last time out while finishing off the board in the Grade-1 New Market Handicap. He has little to prove in the allowance and listed stakes ranks but has yet to finish near the lead in his four lifetime graded-stakes efforts. His connections will be hoping this is the time for DRAKON’S HORROR to crack the proverbial egg. If he gets back to the form he showed in this two listed stakes victories to begin the year, he absolutely has a chance to beat this field.
3) TOWN OF MONTES – calvin – 16/1
This 7 year old son of Speightstown is the second entry from the Monte stables and making his first start since April of last year. He won an allowance and a listed stakes back-to-back last year before taking a one year hiatus. Those two victories came off the end of a layoff of close to three years as his next previous start was in the 2016 Summer Equinics turf sprint for two year olds. Has proven to stay sharp coming off long layoffs and looks to follow that trend heading into this race.
4) SUPER DUPER II – trifecta – 10/1
This Flower Alley gelding breezed to an easy local-bred allowance victory to start the 2020 campaign. He is 13 of 18 lifetime and 6 furlongs certainly seems to be his comfort zone. However he is just 1 for his last 4 with two place finishes in local championship stakes to finish the 2019 season. Should be competitive but will need to improve a great deal to take home the top prize in this contest.
5) RYAN’S CHOICE – rarerug – 6/1
Entering as the morning line favorite, this 4-year-old Redoubt’s Choice colt has had an accomplished career, albeit mostly at longer distances than the 6 furlongs he will run in the Sand Castle Turf Sprint. In fact, he has not run only 6 furlongs since breaking his maiden in 2018 as a two-year-old. He likes to come from the back of the pack. His running style, the lack of early speed in this contest, and his track-record as a route runner all raise question marks about him being dubbed the favorite. There is no denying his class and his recent speed figures point to him being in good form. One to watch at the very least.
6) GALAPOGOS – waremblem1 – 8/1
GALAPOGOS will almost certainly be last heading into the turn in this one as he relies on a heavy late kick to get things done. The late kick scored big in the Golden Goose Sprint last May as well as in two listed stakes races since then. It unfortunately has not worked in his most recent three Grade-1 tries. Will need his best effort and quick fractions to transpire up front in order to win this race.
7) LONHRO LYNN – boudin1 – 9/1
This 5-year-old son of Lonhro carries the distinction of being the only runner in this race coming off a graded stakes victory. He has won 5 of his previous 6 contests. He did fail to fire in the Grade 1 King Kong Sprint back in December but rebounded nicely with a victory in the Grade 3 Sumo Sprint. Will likely be warming up with GALAPOGOS for the first couple of furlongs but seems to always get close to the lead in time. Definitely could be the one here.
8) MURDEROUS SOUL – mentalflos – 8/1
MURDEROUS SOUL has been knocking on the door for a long time. This son of WAR FRONT out of a Grade 1 winning He-Mare was tearing up the allowance ranks but never could get over the hump against stakes company until winning his most previous start. What changed? The surface. The switch from dirt to turf proved to be the needed juice to get this runner his first stakes victory and he did so with a blazing career-best 114 speed. The question will be if MURDEROUS SOUL caught lightning in a bottle or if his last race is a sign of good things to come.
9) NO VAR ON FLATS – fairhaven – 8/1
As consistent as a horse can be, NO VAR ON FLATS has finished in the money in 20 of his 25 career starts, yet he has not been able to win a graded stakes. With the lack of early speed in this race, he may be able to swindle an early lead with a soft pace which would bode well for his chances here. Keep him in your exotics.
10) ISLAND TIME – animalk126 – 8/1
ISLAND TIME and GALAPOGOS are the only two runners with previous Grade 1 victories. ISLAND TIME’S only Grade 1 victory in last July’s MGD Special was also his last overall victory. This 5-year-old son of Uncle Mo has failed to find the winner’s circle in his previous six starts but did show great improvement last time out while finishing 2nd in the G3 King Don Buffet. He also finished a game 4th in last year’s edition of the Breeders’ Bowl Turf Sprint. He has done well against fields much deeper than this and should be considered in your win wagers.
11) MINESTRONE BABS – pizza – 14/1
Taking his first crack against Grade-1 company in this contest. Another closer to add to the long list of closers in this field. MINESTRONE BABS is always competitive (12 of 15 ITM lifetime) but always seems to come up just short. A cut back in distance is in store for this one and his connections will hope that the shortened trip is the final ingredient to a winning recipe.
12) THE SENT ONE – squity – 13/1
At first glance, there isn’t a ton to like about this son of Teofilo’s chances. However he does, on occasion throw in a monster effort (like he did in the Alpha Gray Turf Dash in January) and almost always has nice looking speed figures. The connections will hope that THE SENT ONE has one of his monster efforts up his sleeve in order to score his first graded stakes victory.
13) OASIS MAMBO – ddstables – 9/1
This 6-year-old son of Oasis Dream heads into this contest as the leading money earner of the group despite only 5 lifetime wins in 28 career starts. It’s been since June that he found the winner circle and hasn’t come very close in his four starts since then. However, he is one of the few who look to be fighting for the lead early in this one and may just be able to steal this victory.
14) DON’T FAUCET – inzamam – 13/1
Taking the outside post postion, DON’T FAUCET looks to return to the form that saw him go on a run of six straight victories that ended in June’s Golden Jamboree (G2). What followed was 5 straight off the board finishes, but he is coming off a very strong 2nd place finish last time out against listed company. His odds seem short based off his recent form but could be a very nice value if last race was an indication of a resurrection. Hard to ignore.
7) LONHRO LYNN – Just seems like the only one in here that looks to be at its peak.
8) MURDEROUS SOUL – First effort on turf was impressive and as good as any last-time-out-effort in the field.
10) ISLAND TIME – Can’t put my finger on it but I like his chances.