Enigma…the word means to be of puzzling or contradictory character. That word is the only one needed to describe Twirling Candy. He is brilliant one moment, dazzling us with his amount of raw, god-given talent. Then in the next instant he goes and blows an entire race by balking, bearing out, or getting so rank that he loses all shot at winning. He has so much talent, talent that can make a horse great, but lacks the focus to channel that talent into greatness.
Over his career Twirling Candy has shown us his ability on countless occasions. One effort was the Malibu Stakes where he defeated Smiling Tiger in a final time of 1.19.7, smashing the course record. In the Del Mar Derby Twirling Candy showed his brilliance and his unpredictability. On the backstretch he bore out sharply for no apparent reason, interfering with Summer Movie, and was lucky to not be disqualified. However, around the far turn and through the stretch the brilliant son of Candy Ride strutted his stuff, running straight as an arrow, to win by open lengths.
[Will Twirling Candy rebound in the Californian, and move up on the HRN Power Rankings?]
In 2011, Twirling Candy started off his season with a scintillating performance in the Strub Stakes. Off of that performance, he became the favorite for his next start, the Santa Anita Handicap. The race was his for the taking, nobody in the field looked like they would be able to managed to match strides with the powerful colt at his best, but Twirling Candy, yet again showed us why nothing in thoroughbred racing is a lock. At the head of the stretch, Twirling Candy looked strong in between Setsuko and Game On Dude, but overreacted badly when Game on Dude shifted outwards, brushing him. Twirling Candy veered sharply, ramming inot Setsuko, then proceeded to bounce around between both Game on Dude and Setsuko before dropping back to finish a well beaten fifth.
In this weekend’s Californian Stakes, Twirling Candy looks for redemption, where he will face Setsuko, who will likely be looking for revenge upon the horse who may have cost him the Santa Anita Handicap. If Twirling Candy can smooth out the kinks and quirks he will once again win by a widening margin. If not then it will likely be Setsuko who will be waiting in the wings to take advantage of the favorite's shortcomings. Can Twirling Candy keep his focus or will his antics be his undoing once again?