Richard Sherman’s homebred Nikki’s Sandcastle
rallied in the middle
of the stretch past a tight bunch of horses to score a 1 1/4-length
victory over Winning Cause to win the 56th
running of the $200,000 Hagyard Fayette (G2) before a closing-day crowd of 19,093 at Keeneland.
Second in this race last year to Newsdad, Nikki’s Sandcastle is trained by Dave Kassen and was ridden by Leandro Goncalves.
It was the third stakes win at Keeneland for Kassen and his first
here since 1983 when he sent out Cad to finish in a dead heat to win the
For Goncalves, the Hagyard Fayette victory marked his meet-leading
third stakes win. Goncalves also won the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G3)
on Sum of the Parts and the Rood & Riddle Dowager on Preferential
Nikki’s Sandcastle raced near the back of the pack early on as Set
the Sail led the field through fractions of :23.96, :48.14 and 1:12.24
while under token pressure from Ol Army.
Goncalves had Nikki’s Sandcastle next to the rail on the far turn
waiting for room to materialize. When it never did, Goncalves swung
Nikki’s Sandcastle seven wide at the head of the lane, collared
Winning Cause at the sixteenth pole and drew off to cover the 1 1/18
miles on the fast main track in 1:48.13.
Nikki’s Sandcastle is a 6-year-old gelded son of Castledale (IRE) out
of the Sandpit (BRZ) mare Sandtina. Saturday’s $120,000 winner’s check
boosted Nikki’s Sandcastle’s earnings to $518,907 with a record of
Nikki’s Sandcastle returned $25.80, $11.80 and $6.80. Winning Cause,
ridden by Joe Rocco Jr., returned $9.80 and $6 with You Know I Know
rallying from far back to get third another 1½ lengths back under Eddie
Castro and paying $5.20 to show.
It was a half-length to Finnegans Wake in fourth and followed in order by Lea, Villandry, Ol Army, Set the Sail and Willcox Inn.