March 24, 2023

Sandstone, Famed square off in Golden Rod

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

Golden Rod S. (G2) — Race 10 (5:27 p.m. ET)

Sandstone, who torched the opposition in two previous starts at Churchill Downs this fall, will look to make it three in a row in Saturday’s $400,000 Golden Rod S. (G2).

The 1 1/16-mile Golden Rod, the signature event for juvenile fillies at the Louisville track, is a 2022 Road to the Kentucky Oaks series prep. The top four finishers will earn respective Oaks qualifying points of 10-4-2-1.

Trained by Kenny McPeek, Sandstone made short work of her rivals in a pair of October starts. Returning from a four-month layoff on Oct. 3, the daughter of Street Sense defeated maiden rivals by nine lengths going a mile in the slop. Sandstone’s fast-track form was just as good in the Oct. 31 Rags to Riches S. over 1 1/16 miles, as she drew off to win by 10 lengths over returning rival Yuugiri. The latter had more than 15 lengths on her closest pursuer.

Famed, an Uncle Mo half-sister to champion and Belmont S. (G1) hero Essential Quality, looms as the primary rival in the betting. Second to eventual stakes winner Sweet Dani Girl in her debut in late September, Famed bounced back to graduate by 7 3/4 lengths at Keeneland in the slop. Trainer Brad Cox won last year’s Golden Rod with Travel Column.

Also among the last-out maiden winners in the field are Hal’s Dream, a graduate on turf for McPeek; Secret Oath, a daughter of Arrogate who was a track-and-distance winner on Oct. 31; and Cancel This, a maiden winner third out who’s from the family of top three-year-old Midnight Bourbon and Grade 1 scorer Girvin. Dream Lith, a debut winner at Saratoga over the summer, adds blinkers after consecutive fifth-place efforts in the Spinaway (G1) and Alcibiades (G1).

The aforementioned Sweet Dani Girl, victorious in the Myrtlewood S. at Keeneland last time, leads the field for the $200,000 Fern Creek S. for two-year-old fillies over 6 1/2 furlongs. Other contenders in a field of eight that caps Saturday’s 12-race card include Ellis Park Debutante heroine Verylittlecents and debut winner Marissa’s Lady.