08/24/2006 12:00AM

Sand Rush lays over his three opponents


SASKATOON, Saskatchewan - Sand Rush looks like a prohibitive favorite while facing just three rivals in Saturday's $6,000 City Centre Bingo Twin Charities Handicap here at Marquis Downs.

Sand Rush has won four of his six starts in 2006 and was second in the other two. He should be very tough to catch as the lone speed in the one-mile Twin Charities.

His victory in the July 22 City Centre Bingo Early Bird Handicap has earned him a shot to scoop up a $2,000 bonus for winning the Twin Charities Handicap and the Sept. 8 Sweepstakes Handicap.

Sand Rush's last win, on Aug. 5, was an impressive 5 1/2-length allowance score at Friday's distance in a solid time of 1:39.30.

Standoff rallied to finish second to Sand Rush that day, and tries Sand Rush again Saturday. Standoff has a pair of one-mile victories surrounding his loss to Sand Rush. He scored an easy five-length victory against $6,000 claimers here Aug. 18, defeating Double Time, a top stakes horse here for the last few seasons. Prior to running second to Sand Rush, Standoff registered an eye-catching eight-length win over $3,200 claimers with a mile in 1:38.20.

Dick's Hunter, winner of the Old Dutch Handicap here one year ago, beat $3,200 claimers at a mile in 1:40.10 on Aug. 4. The victory marked his first time Dick's Hunter had lit the board since falling in a June 10 allowance race.

Wind Dancer, 2005 Saskatchewan horse of the year and champion 3-year-old, has found it tough slugging against his elders and has yet to hit the top three from four 2006 starts. A late closer this season, Wind Dancer has done his best running at a mile or farther and from just off the pace, and may need to revert to more of a stalking trip to keep Sand Rush from getting away on the field.