I really don’t understand why Sidney’s Candy isn’t getting more respect on a national level. Yes, I know people rate him as dangerous speed and a very good horse, but outside of California, it seems many don’t give him his due. Maybe it is because he was off the board in his two biggest races, the Kentucky Derby and the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Fair enough, but considering his task from the 20 hole in the Derby, and the competition in the Mile, maybe all he needs is a little improvement as an older horse to become a legitimate Horse of the Year candidate in 2011. In fact, if you asked me which horse is the most likely to be the finest older performer in the nation this year, Sidney’s Candy would be right at the top of the list. Consider what he quietly accomplished last year.
The John Sadler trained colt won five graded stakes in 2010. No other three-year-old male in the nation could make the same claim, and that includes all three finalists for the Eclipse Award, Lookin at Lucky, Eskendereya, and Paddy O’Prado. Sidney’s Candy was also a graded stakes winner on turf, dirt, and synthetics last year. A feat of versatility that no other horse in America accomplished in 2010. Keep in mind that in four of those five graded stakes wins, he won by more than four lengths, including at least one stakes romp on each surface. Clearly establishing brilliance and versatility that should make him one of the most respected horses in America.
2011 begins for Sidney’s Candy with a start in San Fernando Stakes on Saturday, where he looms a big favorite to secure graded stakes win number six. Chief among his rivals include Make Music For Me, Haimish Hy, and Thiskyhasnolimit, but let’s face it, if Candy runs his race, the others are running for place money. Fresh off a 7 ¼ length romp in meet opening Sir Beaufort Stakes, the chestnut son of Candy Ride will be making his second straight start on the dirt course where he ran a mile in 1:33 and change in December. While it is uncertain what his best surface will ultimately be, it is clear that he can now get it done on dirt, just like we knew he could on other surfaces.
Looking back at his excellent season last year, I am ready to give Sidney’s Candy a full pass for his two noted failures. In the Derby, many a speed horse has been sucked up into the black hole of the 20 horse stampede. He had little chance going in, with his outer rail post position on the messy track, and when he was not able to clear the field early, he really had no chance. In the Mile, I believe he ran a strong race. Sidney’s Candy made all the running and still had the lead when the field hit the eighth pole. He was unable to deal with Goldikova’s irresistible charge, but then who isn’t? After the super mare, Sidney’s Candy was beaten just over a length for second money. I understand why people focus on the result of the Kentucky Derby and the Breeders’ Cup, but in Sidney’s Candy, those races tell little of his story. Any surface, any distance, it is a story that could get a whole lot more interesting this year.
Photo courtesy of Cecilia G. Felix