ARLINGTON HEIGHTS--On a warm cloudless day at Arlington Park perfect for a day at the beach, NIKKI'S SANDCASTLE took to the green, not the sand in the $65,000 Sea o' Erin Stakes. Sent off as the 3-1 second choice, he took the grass stakes with a good closing run at the rail.
The five-year-old Castledale gelding scored by 1 1/4 lengths and stopped the clock for 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:43.38. He paid $8.00 to win.
NIKKI'S SANDCASTLE winning the Sea o'Erin Stakes. Photo courtesy Four Footed Fotos.
Pacesetter MR. VEGAS grabbed the early lead and nearly led every step of the way in the stakes, carving out fractions of 24.58, 49.15, 1:13.40 and a mile in 1:37.50. MR. VEGAS had the lead until deep stretch, when NIKKI'S SANSCASTLE, never farther back than third position and two lengths, charged through at the rail in deep stretch to win. MR. VEGAS led valiantly through the stretch before yielding to the eventual winner.
Said rider Diego Sanchez post-race on winner NIKKI'S SANDCASTLE, “I had a lot of horse but nowhere to go on the rail. So I sat with him until the room opened and my horse came through and finished strong.”
The $2 2-3 exacta of NIKKI'S SANDCASTLE and MR. VEGAS paid $17.80. The fifty cent 2-3-1 trifecta that included the 1A part of the entry, MIDDIE returned $13.45. The ten cent superfecta of 2-3-1-9, with LIL BIT O' FUN in fourth, had a $7.39 payoff.
Meanwhile, in the Belmont Stakes, UNION RAGS was victorious by a narrow margin over race leader PAYNTER. ATIGUN was third.
Special thanks to Sr. Communications Manager Dave Zenner for considerations.