Updated on 09/17/2011 5:48PM

Gold Storm the latest speedball for Cascio


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Gold Storm gets to stay home for the biggest race of his career, the $1 million Breeders' Cup Sprint. He will be racing in his own backyard for the first time since July after vanning from his Lone Star Park base for stakes at Arlington Park and Keeneland in his last two starts.

Gold Storm has won three of of his four starts at Lone Star, making him an interesting prospect in a highly contentious Sprint.

"I do think it's an advantage to a horse's management to be able to keep him in his own stall," said trainer Bubba Cascio. "I think it will be to his advantage not to ship."

Gold Storm started his career at Lone Star in May 2003. He won his debut over 5 1/2 furlongs, covering the distance in a razor sharp 1:03.40. Cascio claimed Gold Storm out of that race for $50,000 on behalf of Jack Sweesy and Keith McKinney.

"The day we claimed him, he ran so fast, so you had to think, 'Well, it looks like we've got something to work with,' " said Cascio.

Cascio knows how to bring the best out in a sprinter. He has trained some of the best Quarter Horses to ever race, including the legendary Dash for Cash, before moving to Thoroughbreds in the late 1990's.

And, Cascio also has a history of success at the claim box with Quarter Horses. He recalled claiming Ragtime Chick for $3,500 and later saddled the horse to set a world record for 870 yards at Sunland Park.

More recently, Cascio's success has been with Thoroughbreds, and he said his highest-profile runner with the breed has been Gold Storm. The horse burst on the Sprint scene when he powered to a three-quarter-length win in the $150,000 Arlington Breeders' Cup Sprint under regular rider Larry Taylor. For his effort, he earned a career-best Beyer Figure of 111. One start later, Gold Storm was a gutty second in the Grade 3 Phoenix Breeders' Cup at Keeneland.

He traveled to prove he deserved a shot in the Sprint.

"It was to see if he had the class to run with those kind of horses," said Cascio. "We went up there to kind of ensure us a spot [in the Sprint] so to speak, and we satisfied our own mind by seeing if he could handle those kind of horses."

Cascio shares some common ties with top Thoroughbred trainers D. Wayne Lukas and Bob Baffert. He is a colorful speaker, and after succeeding with Quarter Horses he switched to training Thoroughbreds. In fact, Baffert's first Breeders' Cup win came in the Sprint, with Thirty Slews in 1992.

Cascio's history, coupled with an up-and-coming horse like Gold Storm, should make for a popular story during the Breeders' Cup. Cascio has already been interviewed by many media outlets, including a paper in London. A week from now, there could be a lot more to write about Gold Storm.

* Bay Marvel, who was on the waiting list to get into the Sprint, has been entered in an allowance at Lone Star on Sunday.