06/06/2007 11:00PM

Sand Rush tough to beat on Marquis strip

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SASKATOON, Saskatchewan - Sand Rush, winner of a half-mile allowance race in his season debut, faces six foes in Saturday's six-furlong allowance feature at Marquis Downs.

The race will be the first for Sand Rush since he was named the local 2006 horse of the year and champion older horse by the local Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association at the May 31 Saskatchewan awards night.

Sand Rush won 6 of 8 starts at Marquis last year, including all four stakes races for his division, and he ran second in his other two local starts.

The HBPA awards are limited to horses competing in Saskatchewan while the local division of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society also awarded honors based upon Saskatchewan-breds running in any jurisdiction.

A number of horses were named champion by both organizations: Dorothy Hazel, as 2-year old filly; Mischievousfighter, 2-year old colt or gelding; Excessively Sweet, 3-year- old filly; and Son of Attey, 3-year old colt or gelding.

Other horses named champions by the HBPA were Brite Steel, older filly or mare, and All About Elsie, claimer of the year.

The HBPA also honored Tim Moccasin as the meet's leading rider and Mike Tourangeau as leading trainer.

Other CTHS honorees were Spirit to Spare, horse of the year and top older filly or mare; Fargo Forbes, older horse; Diana Wilson, leading breeder; You've Got Action, leading stallion; and Seven L Dandy, broodmare of the year.

Also announced during the awards night was the creation of two $10,000 stakes races for 2-year olds, with funding coming from Alberta-based owner and breeder Dick Bonnycastle.

The yet-to-be-named races will be run Aug. 3 (fillies) and Aug. 4 (males). First preference will be to horses who are both Saskatchewan-sired and -bred with second preference to Saskatchewan-breds.