08/16/2012 2:04PM

Remington Park: Nikki's Sandcastle a contender in competitive DeBartolo


Nikki’s Sandcastle will be shaking millionaire Rahystrada when he ships to Oklahoma City for Saturday night’s $100,000 Edward J. DeBartolo Memorial Handicap at Remington Park.

The DeBartolo, at a mile and an eighth on turf, drew a field of 10 older horses. Skip a Smile is back to defend his title in the race, while Golden Yank is the 119-pound starting highweight off a fifth-place in the Grade 3, $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap.

Nikki’s Sandcastle, weighted at 118, last raced at Arlington Park, finishing seventh, beaten four lengths by Rahystrada, in the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap. Rahystrada was to run back Saturday in the Arlington Million, while Nikki’s Sandcastle has come to town in search of the second stakes win of his career. The first came in the $66,000 Sea O’Erin at Arlington on June 9. Nikki’s Sandcastle stalked the pace and drove clear, and if he runs back to that effort, for which he earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 93, he will be squarely in the hunt for the DeBartolo.

David Kassen, who trains Nikki’s Sandcastle, is hoping that will be the case.

“That last race you can throw out,” Kassen said of the Arlington Handicap on June 30. “He hurt his foot in the race, got beat four lengths. He’s fine now.”

Nikki’s Sandcastle has been working sharply on the main track at Arlington, among his drills five furlongs in 1:01 on Aug. 9. The move was the second fastest of 28 at the distance that morning. Martin Escobar has the mount on Nikki’s Sandcastle, who races for his breeder, Richard Sherman. Golden Yank is returning to turf for the first time since last September, when he won the $100,000 Unbridled on the Super Derby undercard at Louisiana Downs. Since that race he has hooked Successful Dan twice in Kentucky, running second to him in a Keeneland allowance and fourth to him in the Grade 2 Alysheba at Churchill Downs. In his most recent start, Golden Yank was fifth to Nates Mineshaft in the Lone Star Park Handicap on May 28. Jamie Theriot has the mount for Millard Seldin and trainer Gary Thomas.

Skip a Smile will be making his second start off a layoff, while Beachcombing will be seeking his fourth consecutive win. Beachcombing reeled off three allowance scores during the Lone Star meet. Chris Landeros will ride the horse for trainer Cody Autrey. Luis Quinonez will be aboard Skip a Smile for trainer Steve Asmussen.