Sandy’z Slew captures Troy with front-running tactics

Sunday, August 5th, 2018

NYRA/Elsa Lorieul

By Sarah Mace

At eight years old, Sandy’z Slew is having his best year ever. The winner of three of four starts dating back to last November 17, he capped the series with a fourth victory Sunday when he posted a wire-to-wire score in Saratoga’s $200,000, 5 1/2-furlong Troy Handicap, which was upgraded this year to a Grade 3.

Exactly one year ago to the day, original connections Rick Schosberg and Team Clear Stars Stable dangled Sandy’z Slew for $40,000 in a state-bred optional claimer. Fourth that day, only three lengths behind the winner, he was collared by astute horseman Jimmy Ricco who sent the Limehouse gelding to join Jeremiah Englehart’s string.

A confirmed turf sprinter, Sandy’z Slew posted a pair of solid, but off-the-board efforts in state-bred allowance company first out for his new connections. Then the gelding found a new gear, winning three out of his next four starts by wide margins. His only miscue came in Gulfstream Park’s Janus Stakes where he finished midpack.

Most effective as a front-runner, Sandy’z Slew (4-1) kept to his playbook for the Troy, hustling to the lead from post seven under Jose Ortiz and leaving a distinguished field, which also included multiple graded stakes winner and world-record setting New York-bred sprinter Disco Partner, in his wake.

Carving out the first quarter in a testing 22.58 as he opened a length and a half on Tombelaine in second, Sandy’z Slew moderated the pace in the next two panels, posting a half-mile in 46.22 as Tombelaine whittled away his lead to one length.

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

Set down for the drive over the “soft” course, Sandy’z Slew had enough left in the tank to hold Blind Ambition who charged from midpack and secure the victory by three-quarters of a length.

Blind Ambition out-finished Disco Partner who had to settle for third as the 3-2 favorite and may not have cared for the soft sod. Completing the order of finish were Square Shooter, Holding Gold, Tombelaine, Ready for Rye and Eastwood. The final time for the race was 1:05.07. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Unfortunately Sandy’z Slew was not able to come back to the winner’s circle to have his picture taken. He switched leads in deep stretch and, once the horses reached the backstretch in the gallop-out, Jose Ortiz pulled up his mount and dismounted. Sandy’z Slew, who did not appear to be in distress, walked into the equine ambulance and was vanned back to the barn.

“He didn’t break down. [But] I could feel it when I started jogging, so I pulled him up,” explained Ortiz. “He took a bad step near the quarter-pole, it was probably there. But he kept going in the stretch and showed a lot of heart. I didn’t notice [at first], I thought it was just a bad step. He was good enough to keep running. But when I started jogging him, it [looked like] he hurt a little bit.”

Ortiz added an encouraging assessment: “I think he’ll be OK.” [*UPDATE BELOW]

Bred by Robert Hahn and foaled at Dutchess Views Farm in Pine Plains, Sandy’z Slew is out of Charleston Springs, a Maryland-bred winner and stakes performer by Capote also bred by Hahn. A productive broodmare, Charleston Springs has produced seven winners from seven foals to start, including two more stakes performers. Her total progeny earnings top $1,125,000.

Currently Charleston Springs has a juvenile colt by Paynter named Paynt the Edges, did not produce a foal in 2017, and foaled a Gemologist filly on April 5, 2018.

Sandy’z Slew changed hands twice via public auction. A $65,000 yearling purchase by W. D. North Thoroughbreds and Stacy Yagoda and the 2011 Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale, he brought $70,000 from Team Clear Stars Stable when offered the following year at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic two-year-old sale.

Over the years, Sandy’z Slew has taken the occasional stab at stakes competition, even finishing third by just three-quarters of a length in the 2014 renewal of the Troy, but he reserved his first breakthrough black-type victory for the 43rd start of his career. In all, Sandy’z Slew has won ten races with eight seconds and five thirds. He has bankrolled an impressive $684,487.

[*UPDATE 8/6/2018: Per the Daily Racing Form, Sandy’z Slew was diagnosed with a suspensory injury. “He was walking around on it pretty good today,” said Englehart. “Whether he hit it, pulled it, or strained it, we’ll see.”

The conditioner added, “I don’t want to say one way or another whether he’ll be retired, but everyone involved in the situation knows he doesn’t owe us anything and if we’re the least bit skeptical whether he can come back, everyone is on the same page. In fact I’ve already heard Jose say he wants to make him his first horse on the farm he bought in Ocala if we do have to retire him.” Read more from the DRF.]

[UPDATE 8/10/18: Jeremiah Englehart reported, “Sandy’s doing well, we’re going to retire him.” He may well  become the first resident of Ortiz’ Ocala farm.]

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