09/01/2004 12:00AM

Gold Storm hitting peak at optimum time


Gold Storm is stepping up his game at an opportune time. He ran a career-best race last weekend in the $150,000 Arlington Breeders' Cup Sprint, and a good performance in next month's Grade 3, $250,000 Phoenix at Keeneland would lead to a run at the $1 million Breeders' Cup Sprint.

The BC Sprint will be run at Gold Storm's home track of Lone Star Park. He returned there earlier this week after earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 111 for his powerful win in the Arlington BC.

"He really ran a nice race," said Bubba Cascio, who trains Gold Storm for the partnership of Keith McKinney and Jack Sweesy. "He did everything right."

With a top three finish in the Phoenix, Gold Storm will be pointed for the Sprint, Cascio said. In the Arlington BC, the colt was the 9-1 third choice in a five-horse field and tied the track's six-furlong stakes record when he covered the distance in 1:08.65.

Larry Taylor, a Texas-based rider who was aboard Gold Storm, has the mount in the Phoenix, which will be run on Oct. 8.

"He's won three in a row on him," said Cascio.

Taylor guided Gold Storm to wins in a Lone Star allowance and the $40,000 J.R. Straus Memorial at Retama Park before the Arlington BC.

Gold Storm has won 7 of 11 starts overall, including his debut at Lone Star last year. Sweesy claimed him out of that race for $50,000. In all, Gold Storm, a 4-year-old son of Seeking the Gold, has earned $206,750.

His win in the Arlington BC has been his most impressive to date, and Cascio said he enjoyed the trip to Arlington. He had raced in Chicago just once before, winning a Quarter Horse stakes there in the 1960's.

"It was a fun place to go," he said of Arlington. "I felt like I had been racing there all my life."

Upon his return to Texas, Cascio picked up another promising young horse. Sweesy purchased the sale-topper at the Fasig-Tipton Texas summer yearling auction on Monday, paying $130,000 for a son of Tejano Run. The colt is out of the same mare as Crawfish King.

Crawfish King won his maiden in the $50,000 Pioneer at Louisiana Downs, and he is owned by Sweesy and trained by Cascio. Both colts were bred in Louisiana.

"He's gorgeous," Cascio said of the yearling. "He's bigger than the Crawfish. But he's not a great big colt. There's a lot of refinement there. He looks more like a horse who's ready to run than a yearling coming out of a sale."

Cascio said Crawfish King is being pointed for the $50,000 Stardust for statebreds at Louisiana Downs on Oct. 23.