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From Coast to Coast

Nikki's Sandcastle Sweeps Past El Prado Field

Nikki’s Sandcastle has shown quite the affinity for the Gulfstream turf thus far in his career. In 7 career starts over the South Florida track’s grass, the chestnut Castledale (IRE) gelding is 7: 3-1-2 with his worst finish being a fourth place finish in an allowance optional claiming event on New Year’s Eve of last year. Owned by Richard Sherman, the gelding scored his third career win at Gulfstream Park in today’s El Prado Stakes
 
 
Unhurried early, Nikki’s Sandcastle kicked into gear in the backstretch and continued advancing steadily despite being hung five wide on the turn. After finally finding running room on the rail, Kharafa gained the lead in the late stages of the stretch run but could not hold off the game Nikki’s Sandcastle’s closing kick.
 
 
After running exclusively in allowance company for the first two and half years of his career, Nikki’s Sandcastle was moved into stakes company in June of this year. After winning his stakes debut in the Sea O Erin Stakes, the gelding only disappointed once, finishing 7th in the G3 Arlington Handicap against the likes of Rahystada, Boisterous, and Mister Marti Gras. Beginning with the Sea O Erin Stakes, the gutsy gelding has gone 7: 3-3-0. During that stretch, the son of Castledale finished second in the G2 Fayette Stakes, checking in behind Newsdad and ahead of Take Charge Indy, and won the Claiming Crown Emerald Stakes earlier in the month, soundly beating Grade 1 winner King David and Grade 1 placed King Kreesa.
 
 
If the chestnut gelding’s recent form is any indication, this one will be one to watch over the coming year, particularly at Gulfstream where he appears to feel most at home. Nikki’s Sandcastle’s next start is still a bit up in the air. Trainer David Kassen said that the plan had been to ship to Texas for the G3 John Connally on January 26 but that they would rather stay at Gulfstream. Kassen cited the level of competition as one of the deciding factors. The competition in Texas may be softer, but Nikki’s Sandcastle favors Gulfstream. With several turf races coming up in the next few months, there are plenty of options available. I would expect Nikki’s Sandcastle to run well no matter where he’s placed. 
 
 
Photo courtesy of Four Footed Fotos 

 

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Older Comments about Nikki's Sandcastle Sweeps Past El Prado Field...

No, certainly not, butchcassidy.
Well he surely doesn't want to run into Animal Kingdom in The Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap!
What a great win for this guy! Nice article, Ashley
He has me excited. I'd like to see him give graded company another shot while at his favorite track.
Nice to see his good Chicago form carrying over elsewhere!

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Meet Ashley Tamulonis
  
 

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, and it was her love of reading and horses that led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few short years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and get to personally meet and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

 

Before joining Horse Racing Nation, Ashley created her own blog Wired with Ashley Paige. The idea to venture into the world of blogging came to her when she realized that she had much to say about horse racing and no one to say it to at the time. Since joining Horse Racing Nation as a contributing blogger, Ashley writes as frequently as possible as the Florida Filly. Though she mainly covers racing in South Florida, Ashley also blogs about nationwide racing, industry issues, and from time to time offers her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry as a whole. Most recently, Ashley was selected to participate in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

 

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband Chris and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.