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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Can the Candyman Can?

The long waited return of Capt. Candyman Can is almost upon us. Weeble, as he is affectionately known, is entered in Saturday’s Super Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, where a field of nine others are set to face the returning grade one winner. His main competition looks to be See I A who has won five straight including the recent Pelican Stakes, but if the Candyman is the same horse we saw back in 2009, See I A would need to join forces with the Eff B I to have any chance.
Last seen a full 15 months ago, he was part of the wide open field assembled for the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Despite being younger than most of his foes that day, the Candyman was well respected at 7-1. His participation in the big race held a little extra sentiment, as it came only days after the death of Dr. Joseph Rauch, his co-owner and co-breeder. Unfortunately, there would be no fairy tale story for Weeble that day, as his normal powerful closing kick was not quite up to snuff on the old Pro-Ride surface of Santa Anita Park. Even though he did not run his best, he was beaten only 3 ½ lengths. Now he is back, and there is good reason to have high hopes for a solid return.
Last Fall when I stopped by Ian Wilkes barn during the Breeders’ Cup, he told me Capt. Candyman Can was doing very well in his recovery from a injury that caused him to miss the entire 2010 season. Wilkes went as far as to say he fully expected that the gelded son of Candy Ride would be representing his barn in the 2011 BC Sprint. I am always cautious when waiting on a horse who has been away from the races for so long, but you could just see the twinkle in his trainer’s eye as he spoke about the future of the good Captain.
Overall the Candyman has won half of his 12 starts, most of them coming in graded stakes competition. Among his wins include the Matt Winn and Iroquois at Churchill Downs, as well as the Bay Shore, Hutcheson, and the Grade 1 King’s Bishop Stakes. It should be noted in that grade one win, Capt. Candyman Can was elevated to the victory after Vineyard Haven’s number came down. It was a decision that needed to be made though, as Weeble likely would have reversed the narrow loss if the other horse had not came out on him in the finishing stages of the seven furlong affair.
The big question Saturday is, can the now five-year-old Captain be the same horse many grew to love two seasons ago? Signs are promising. He has been working strongly at Palm Meadows Training center, including firing a couple of five furlong bullets recently, and we already know how what his trainer thinks. Weeble is an easy horse to root for, I am looking forward to see if he can regain his position as one of the very best sprinters in America.
Photo courtesy of Adam Coglianese


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Older Comments about Can the Candyman Can?...

Don't count this guy out this year in the Sprint division... he's legit.
He certainly can, really nice win by the Capt.!!
Yes he can!
Looking forward to seeing him back with a saddle...
I can't wait to see him back in action! I also heart that Jackson Bend is set to return pretty soon!!
I'd like nothing better than to see him pick up exactly where he left off.
I think this one will be one of the more poplular horses in the nation if all goes well. Mark, he had chips removed from his knee, and you are right, at 5 he could be even better. Although, he was really good already ;-)
There hasn't been much said about Candyman lately, or did I miss it? When I saw him in your Top 10 - I was like, wow, he's back!?? Always interesting to see if they can get their form back. If he's reasonably the same horse, then his 5yo form could show marked improvement. Do you know what his injury was?
So excited to see this horse return. I've been watching his works with great anticipation. Both he and Square Eddie took 2010 off, and I think Weeble will come back with a bang just as Eddie did!


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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing since birth. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 
As Managing Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Brian also serves on the the Board of Directors of ReRun Thoroughbred Adoption and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
A graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives in Suburban Chicago with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra, where he is a professional golf instructor when he is not following the horses.