July 18, 2024

Sandstone crushes Rags to Riches; Howling Time stays perfect in Street Sense

Sandstone winning the Rags to Riches S. at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography
Sandstone wins the Rags to Riches S. at Churchill Downs (Coady Photography)

The Churchill Downs Fall Meet opened on Sunday with a “Stars of Tomorrow” card exclusively for two-year-olds, and it’s safe to say the afternoon lived up to its billing.

Rags to Riches S.

A pair of $200,000 stakes highlighted the action, and both produced exciting results. First up was the Rags to Riches S., a 1 1/16-mile event unofficially serving as an early stepping stone toward the 2022 Kentucky Oaks (G1). Four fillies faced the starter, but in the end, Sandstone proved much the best.

A daughter of 2007 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Street Sense out of a mare by 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew, Sandstone broke alertly under jockey Brian Hernandez and raced to the front through fractions of :24.51, :48.55, and 1:13.11. Heavy favorite Yuugiri reached even terms with five-sixteenths of a mile remaining, but Sandstone soon turned back the challenge, powering clear down the lane to score by 10 3/4 lengths.

“This is a big filly and really impressive. She’s big but she has a lot of speed,” winning trainer Kenny McPeek told Churchill Downs. “She’s fast and very well built. That was a really nice effort.”

Yuugiri was clearly second-best, finishing 15 1/4 lengths ahead of Mama Rina and Manasota Sunset, but she couldn’t keep pace with Sandstone through the final furlong. Owned by Susan Moulton, Sandstone reached the finish line in 1:44.18 to secure her second consecutive blowout victory. The dark bay filly previously broke her maiden at Churchill Downs by nine lengths.

Street Sense S.

Later in the afternoon, Howling Time unleashed a determined performance to win the Street Sense S., an unofficial springboard toward the 2022 Kentucky Derby. Favored at 19-10 off a sharp debut victory sprinting at Churchill Downs, the son of Not This Time was content to settle in fourth place early on, a couple of lengths behind splits of :24.65 and :49.31.

But as the pace decelerated through six furlongs in 1:14.32, Howling Time raced into contention on the far outside. The Dale Romans trainee struck the front in the homestretch and gradually edged away under jockey Joe Talamo, dashing the final five-sixteenths of a mile in a rapid :30.36 to complete the 1 1/16-mile race in 1:44.68.

The pace-tracking Red Danger finished second by four lengths over Red Knobs, while Skippylongstocking, Guntown, Sport Pepper, and Luni Sima trailed the strung-out field.

“Turning for home I could feel I had a lot of horse underneath me,” said Talamo. “Around the turn, I smooched at him and he just took off. It’s always special to win for these connections. This horse was very impressive today and really ran well around two turns for the first time.”

Owned by Albaugh Family Stables, Howling Time looms as a logical contender for the Kentucky Jockey Club S. (G2) at Churchill Downs next month, which will provide the unbeaten colt with an official opportunity to join the Road to the Kentucky Derby.