Gold Storm Sets Stakes Mark in Arlington Sprint

(from Arlington report)
Keith McKinney's Gold Storm, winner of the 2004 Arlington Breeders' Cup Sprint, took home the trophy a second time when he won the 2006 renewal of the $150,000 race by 1 1/2 lengths in stakes record time of 1:08.39 for the six-furlong dash.

Gold Storm, who was ridden by Tracy Hebert, was part of a three-horse battle for the lead through early fractions of 22.23 and 44.43 before taking the lead three wide coming off the turn for home. The 6-year-old gelding wore down Coach Jimi Lee in the stretch to get the lead, then edged away at the end.

Trainer C. W. Bubba Cascio put blinkers back on the son of Seeking the Gold for the race, after the horse had run without them in his previous two starts.

"I rode him with the blinkers off, and he ran a really big race; but then he came back and threw a clunker," said Hebert, who has partnered with the horse in both his 2006 runs. "Bubba felt we needed to put the blinkers back on because he wasn't really aggressive without them."

The victory was the 11th in 19 starts for Gold Storm, who missed most of last year after pulling a suspensory when finishing 10th in the Churchill Downs Handicap (gr. II) in May 2005. He earned $90,000 to push his bankroll to $507,000.

Coach Jimi Lee, who was part of the early speed battle, was a clear second under Eduardo Perez, finishing three lengths ahead of Level Playingfield and Mark Guidry, who ran third in the seven-horse field. Alabama Clay, 2-1 favorite Elusive Jazz, Kelly's Landing, and Rogue Scholar completed the order.

Gold Storm ran eighth in his last start, the Smile Sprint Handicap (gr. II) at Calder July 15.

Sent off at odds of 7-1, he paid $16, $7 and $5.40. Coach Jimi Lee returned $4.40 and $3.20. Level Playingfield paid $4.20.

(Chart, Equibase)