Loaded field set to battle in the desert at the SAND CASTLE CLASSIC.

THE SAND CASTLE CLASSIC

A highly talented full field of 20 horses have gathered here in Dubai to compete for a share of the Kings ransom of $6 Million simulated dollars.   The field consists of 13 Graded stakes winners of which 10 have come at the highest Grade 1 level.  Nine of the entrants have eclipsed the 1 Million in earnings, with three of them topping 5 Million and 1 super horse has over 10 Million in career earnings.  We have a pair of 6 year olds, Ten 5 year olds and Nine 4 year olds taking to the gates.  A couple of these talented trotters have claimed End Of the Year awards with 1 being named Horse of the Year.  16 are Kentucky breds with 2 from Ireland and 1 each from Japan and Great Britain.  There are 3 geldings entered in this field.  We have 3 sons from GIANTS CAUSEWAY, 2 each from TAPIT, CURLIN, PIONEEROF THE NILE and DROSSELMEYER.  Stockswami will saddle 3 of the runners, while mtk76, lenny271, and cadet will each send out a pair of racers to the gates. 

Now for the post parade:

1- NECROGIANT  (9-1)  stoners

A 7-time winner in 19 career starts will look for his first graded win here.  Has failed to hit the board in his 5 graded attempts.  Last win was in May 2019 in the HULK NIJINSKY DIRT ROUTE where he put up a 121 SP#.   Has drawn the rail and is the co second choice, but I feel he would need his best to get it done in this field.

2- CAIRO BLIZZARD  (14-1)  astin

Opened the year with a win in the G2 TOILET SCRUBBERS ANONYMOUS HANDICAP with McClendon in the saddle kicking out a 119 SP#.  Also picked up a G3 victory in October in the SING-A-LONG CLASSIC in Sweden.  Has shown the ability to get the distance but now must prove he can get the job done at the highest level.

3- GIANT’S KASH  (13-1)  kashbarn

The 2019 horse of the year after claiming the Bluegrass Derby and the Breeders Bowl and 2 other grade 1 last year.  Ledwith will be back in the saddle after the Breeders Bowl win, while posting a 119 SP#.  Opened the year last month running second in the G2 KHARTOUM CHALLENGE right here in Dubai.  One of my faves.

4- THEY WERE GIANTS  (19-1)  mtk76

Has hit the board in all 4 races since switching back to the main track including 3 wins.  Last out bested the field in the G1 CALIFORNIA HANDICAP putting up a 118 SP#.  Has finished on the board in 6 out of 7 career dirt starts.  Could be worth a look at the price the handicapper has given him, especially in your exotic bets.

5- FRICKENDOSOMETHING  (21-1)  tenpoint

Has made 7 graded starts in his career but has been unable to find victory circle has put up 2 in the money finishes.  Last win came in a September NW1n allowance race.  May find himself in a little tougher company than he can handle.  Lifetime best 116 SP#.

6- FINKE MYTH  (10-1)  adschus12

Picked up only win of the year in 2019 at the G1 JOCKEY GUILD GOLD CUP.  Has finished in the money in 5 out of last 6 races.  He ran 10th in last year’s running on the SAND CASTLE CLASSIC.  Kicked out a 117 SP# placing 2nd at the G1 CALIFORNIA HANDICAP.  Has plenty of big race experience at the 10 furlong distance.

7- PASS THE SHAMROCK  (36-1)  lenny271

This longshot will be making his graded stakes debut against this tough field and finished 4th in his only listed stakes the ALASTOR DIRT ROUTE.  Has won 6 out of 8 starts since being gelded showing steady improvement in SP# each time out.  Can’t ignore him if he gets to the early lead.

8- GOLD WAR FRONT  (16-1)  stockswami

The defending SAND CASTLE CLASSIC winner comes in here with that being his last trip to the winners circle.  In only outing this year was a disappointing 9th at the G1 CALIFORNIA HANDICAP with a 111 SP#.  2 time EOY winner and 2018 winner of the SAND CASTLE DERBY is hoping a return to Dubai will turn around his fortunes.

9- AWESOME SWING  (30-1)  mtk76

Won 2 legs of the Blazing Saddles residency triple crown last year.  Made his one and only Graded start in January at the G2 TOILET SCRUBBERS ANONYMOUS HANDICAP where he placed 4th with a 110 SP#.  A 5 time listed stakes winner looking to prove his mettle in the big leagues.

10- CURL IN THE STORM  (9-1)  stockswami

Opened the 2019 season with a 3rd place effort in the G1 CALIFORNIA HANDICAP.  Has finished on the tote board in 8 out of his last 9 starts.  Last win was in June at the G2 OUT OF THE CITY HANDICAP.  He put up a 120 SP# winning the MOUNTAIN REEF DIRT ROUTE.  Last 4 races have all been G1’s at 10 furlongs.

11- CLAYHESTHEPOTTER  (12-1)  willyam13

Japanese bred was the runner up in last year’s SAND CASTLE CLASSIC after winning the G1 CALIFORNIA HANDICAP in 2019 with a 119 SP#.  Opened 2020 with a win in NW2y allowance in Florida and then placed 5t in this year’s CALIFORNIA HANDICAP.  Hoping to return to his early 2019 form in this one.

12- BARBER OF BAYONNE  (24-1)  baggio

Prepped for this one right here in Dubai by running 6th in the G2 KHARTOUM CHALLENGE with a 112 SP#.  Looking for his first graded win after 6 graded attempts where he has failed to hit the board so far.  Last victory came in the HIS ROOS DIRT ROUTE in May.  Will need to step it up versus this group.

13- SOUND RATIONALE  (14-1)  flagdown

Closer charged home to a 3rd place finish last month in the G2 KHARTOUM CHALLENGE kicking out a 113 SP# over this same Dubai Dirt.  Has tried 4 different distances while trying to bring home his first graded win.  Hit the board in last 3 races, so let’s see if recent form and familiarity can help get it done.

14- VOYAGE OF CHARON  (40-1)  cadet

Comes in with the fewest starts in the field but has been very productive with 6 out 8 being top 2 finishes.  After a 5 month layoff never fired in the G2 KHARTOUM CHALLENGE ending up in 12th place.  Last July collected a G1 win in the CLERK OF SCALES with a 111 SP#.  Will need to catch lightning in a bottle here.

15- SCHUMERSHUTDOWN TB  (28-1)  testbarn

The winner of the 2019 MIDDLE JEWEL STAKES over a sloppy track with a 113 SP#.  He has been unable to reproduce that effort against graded company.  Was only able to get on the board in 1 of 5 graded starts since and that was over an off track at the G1 TRAVELERS STAKES where he ran third.  Hoping for a freak rain storm in the desert.

16- EDENBRDIGE GLORY  (8-1)  theduke88

The co-favorite here, finished 3rd in the G1 BREEDERS BOWL CLASSIC with a 117 SP#, which snapped a 5 race winning streak that included a pair of G1’s; WESTERN OCEAN CA CLASSIC and MOVIELAND SHINY CUP.  In all 3 of those races M Scott was holding the reins.  They will have to account for him in this one.

17- LOOKIN GOOD CADET  (8-1)  cadet

This 10 time winner is the other co-favorite here and lines up in the very next gate.  Wired the field in gate to wire fashion in the G2 KHARTOUM CHALLENGE last month popping a 118 SP# here in the desert.  Has finished in the money in 6 of 11 graded starts but is looking to claim his first G1 win. 

18- PIONEEROF MAYHEM  (14-1)  lenny271

The 5 year old comes in here off a pair of 4th place showings in listed stakes in 2020.  He will be making his first foray into the world of graded racing.  Last out in the FORT KNOCKS DIRT ROUTE put up a 114 SP#.  The very accomplished allowance runner has failed to hit the board in 4 listed starts.  Would be an upset here.

19- RIZZEN KNIGHT  (26-1)  summerset

EC Doyle was in the irons for his G1 win at the LABATTS ONTARIO OAKS.  Started the year with a 3rd place in the KINGS ROBBERY DIRT MEMORIAL.  Has a win and 3 second places in his 7 graded starts.  Put up his best 117 SP# in September.  Stretching out to 10 furlongs for the first time. 

20- KING KAM SEPOY  (14-1)  stockswami

Stretching back out to 10 furlongs for first time since 2018 BREEDERS BOWL CLASSIC and BLUEGRASS DERBY.  Was the winner of the G1 GREEDERS BOWL DIRT MILE in November and competed here at Sand Castle last year on the Turf in the FEE DUTY.  Has a career best 117 SP#.  Talented horse at different lengths and surfaces.

Good Luck to everyone in the race.

2 thoughts on “Loaded field set to battle in the desert at the SAND CASTLE CLASSIC.

  • March 28, 2020 at 1:41 pm
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    I’m telling all who will listen… Looking Good Cadet is getting sent to ensure a solid pace… while there is a chance no one will run with him early and he will sneak away, I expect a HUGE effort out of Voyage of Charon… I THINK he didn’t love the off track of the travers. Has been pointing here since that effort skipping the Breeders Bowl and opting to travel to Dubai early. Confirmed talent with a dominating win over the strip. Got some time off before needing to ramp up for this effort. Got the cobwebs out while not being asked for his best making up some ground late in the G2 prep. Baring a stumble at the gate his stablemate will ensure a fast pace, will be his first real try as a four year old, has every right to improve with more racing since his flash of talent as a 3 yr old and the best of the older generation are a bit long in the tooth. Gold War Front has seen his best days and Giants Kash should of ran down Looking Good Cadet last time and couldn’t get by.

    • March 28, 2020 at 2:51 pm
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      Cadet

      Seems like you have a plan for how this race will play out.

      I can not say that you are wrong in this assessment, and of course, I was not aware of your plan when I wrote my article.

      I feel that it would require a major step up for VOYAGE OF CHARON to get the job done against this field.

      I wish you and both of your horses the best for the race, as I do not have a dog in the fight.

      We shall see if your plan comes to fruition later today.

      Joel

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