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HRN Original Blog:
Toasting with Andrew Champagne

A Sweet Win for Candy Boy

 

In his last start, Candy Boy took second billing behind an Eclipse Award-clinching performance from Shared Belief. On Saturday, it was Candy Boy who emerged on the scene.


Rating behind a solid early pace under jockey Gary Stevens, the John Sadler trainee rallied to take the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita. In doing so, the son of Candy Ride earned 10 2014 Kentucky Derby points.


Diamond Bachelor broke sharply and assumed command going into the first turn. He was eventually joined by Chitu, while heavy favorite (and Chitu's stablemate in Bob Baffert's barn) Midnight Hawk stalked three-wide and Candy Boy settled behind the leaders on the rail. As the field turned for home, though, Diamond Bachelor conceded the lead, setting the stage for a thrilling stretch run.



Chitu, who was trying two turns for the first time, dug down deep to repel Midnight Hawk, who could not get by. Candy Boy, though, had swung out to the middle of the track and would prove a tougher adversary, and despite Chitu's strong effort, the latecomer edged by in the final sixteenth and prevailed by a half-length.



The Lewis was the second win in six lifetime starts for Candy Boy, who stopped the timer in 1:41.83 for the 1 1/16-mile distance. His career earnings now sit at $305,600, with the lion's share having come in his last two outings. Meanwhile, the victory cemented a great afternoon for Sadler, who also won the Grade 2 San Marcos Saturday with Vagabond Shoes.


Chitu's four Kentucky Derby points put him on the board, while Midnight Hawk, who won the Grade 3 Sham last month, added two points to his total, which is now 12. Diamond Bachelor hung on for fourth for the final Derby point dispersed, and he may be headed back to the turf, possibly his preferred surface.

 

The next Derby prep on the schedule at Santa Anita is the Grade 2 San Felipe, which will take place on March 8th. It carries 85 Derby points, 50 of which will go to the winner.


 

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Older Comments about A Sweet Win for Candy Boy...

I didn't see any sort of signs of distance limitation for chitu. He was moving away from the pack, right with Candy Boy.
The final time is deceptive, in that the 7th and 8th furlongs were the slowest quarter of the race by over a second, as if they took a big breather before the final 1/16. Plus, for a race at Santa Anita, the pace was not that fast. With not a ton of stamina coming from Candy Boy’s dam side, I’ll reserve judgement on him until the Santa Anita Derby.
He looks like a horse who wants to run longer. He galloped out great. He even looked a little green down the lane and still won. Time was very good. Looks like a top 3 year old in California, although it appears both Chitu and Midnight Hawk will have distance limitations. Candy Boy stamped himself as a 3 year old to keep an eye on.
He looks like a horse who wants to run longer. He galloped out great. He even looked a little green down the lane and still won. Time was very good. Looks like a top 3 year old in California, although it appears both Chitu and Midnight Hawk will have distance limitations. Candy Boy stamped himself as a 3 year old to keep an eye on.

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Meet Andrew Champagne

 

A native of upstate New York and a graduate of Ithaca College, Andrew Champagne fell in love with horse racing at a very early age on summer trips to Saratoga. His turf writing credits include time spent as a sportswriter, weekly columnist, and handicapper at The Saratogian, a summer working for The Saratoga Special, and "field research" at OTB facilities in Saratoga Springs and his hometown of Kingston. He also spent two years in the athletic communications office at Siena College, and interned with NBC Olympics at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.


Andrew moved to Pasadena, Calif., in October of 2013, and now serves as an Associate Producer in HRTV's Digital Media department and Horse Racing Nation's Southern California writer. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewChampagne, and email him at andrewdchampagne@gmail.com.