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Capt. Candyman Can Returns in Sir Shackleton

David and Stephen Zell’s 7-year-old gelding Capt. Candyman Can won the Hutcheson Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park as a 3-year-old in 2009 for trainer Ian Wilkes and the $75,000 Sir Shackleton Stakes over the track as a 5-year-old in 2011.

A Kentucky homebred by Candy Ride, Capt. Candyman Can will be back in action on Florida Derby Day Saturday in a bid for a second victory in the Sir Shackleton at 6 ½ furlongs in a field of eight going as the second race with jockey Alan Garcia named to ride.

Capt. Candyman Can finished a dull ninth last out in the Super Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 23 in his first start since a close-up fifth behind Successful Dan in a tough allowance race at Keeneland on Apr. 6. The Keeneland race was his third last year, preceded by an even third behind Force Freeze in the Gulfstream Sprint Championship (G2) and fourth in the Tom Fool Handicap (G3) at Belmont Park in early March.

“He simply needed a race,” said Wilkes of the veteran sprinter’s performance in the Super. “He may need a couple of races to get going again at his age, but I think he can come back to perform at a high level. I know this is going to be a tough spot, but we know he likes the Gulfstream track.” Wilkes said that Capt. Candyman Can had minor surgery after the Keeneland race to remove a cyst in a foot.

Capt. Candyman Can goes into the Sir Shackleton with a 21-8-2-3 record and earnings of $792,097. He scored one of his biggest victories in the 2009 Kings Bishop Stakes (G1) in 2009 when he finished second by a head behind Vineyard Haven, the latter disqualified. In another good try here at Gulfstream he ran out of ground rallying for fourth in the Mr. Prospector Stakes (G3) in December of 2011, beaten 1 ¾ lengths by Apriority.

Capt. Candyman Can’s rivals include another past winner of the Sir Shackleton as E. Paul Robsham Stable’s 5-year-old Travelin Man goes to the post as one of three contenders trained by Todd Pletcher.

A Kentucky homebred by Trippi, Travelin Man also has shown a fondness for the Gulfstream surface with four wins and a second in six starts, although he missed the board last out finishing sixth in this year’s Gulfstream Sprint Championship in his first start since late July at Monmouth Park when he lost a nose decision to be second in the Teddy Drone Stakes.

Travelin Man finished second in the Hutcheson and won the Swale Stakes (G2) early in 2011 as a 3-year-old and won a hard-fought half-length victory over Jersey Town in the Sir Shackleton on Florida Derby Day last year. Jockey Rosie Napravnik, in town to ride Shanghai Bobby in the Florida Derby (G1) for Pletcher, picks up the mount on Travelin Man. 

Completing the field are E. Paul Robsham Stable’s Soaring Stocks, Rajiv Maragh; Robert Greczak’s Action Andy, Angel Serpa; Midwest Thoroughbreds’ Guam Typhoon, Daniel Centeno; Joseph Balsamo’s Bellefire, Manoel Cruz; Stonestreet Stables and George Bolton’s Spring Hill Farm, John Velazquez; and Luch Racing Stable’s Whiskey Rebellion, Paco Lopez.

Pletcher also trained Soaring Stocks and Spring Hill Farm.


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