06/20/2007 11:00PM

Sand Rush awfully tough


SASKATOON, Saskatchewan - Sand Rush, the reigning Saskatchewan horse of the year, heads a field of nine older horses going six furlongs in Saturday's $6,000 Early's Farm and Garden Handicap here at Marquis Downs.

Sand Rush has been dominant since arriving here in late 2005, having posted 9 victories and 2 second-place finishes from 11 local starts, and swept all four stakes for older horses last year. Sand Rush won races last year ranging from a half-mile up to 1 1/16 miles and is rarely headed into the first turn.

Sand Rush is 2 for 2 this year, having won a pair of allowance races by three lengths each, the last at six furlongs in a sharp 1:12.20.

Standoff has faced Sand Rush five times since last August and has finished second in four of those races, including last time out when he was able to close well. Without Sand Rush in the field, Standoff won a one-mile affair against $6,000 claimers in late August, so he may need more ground.

Double Bid may rate an upset chance. With his stalking style, Double Bid has a second and a third versus $6,000 claimers in his two local attempts in 2007 and was beaten just three lengths each time out.

But for any horse to upset Sand Rush, some horse is going to have to go with him early, and on form it doesn't appear that will happen.