Grade 1 winner SIDNEY'S CANDY (Candy Ride [Arg]) will seek his second stakes victory of the Santa Anita meet when he lines up for the $150,000 San Fernando S. (G2), and the John Sadler-trained colt will be the one to catch among nine four-year-old rivals in the 1 1/16-mile event. The chestnut exits a 7 1/4-length romp in the opening-day Sir Beaufort S. (G3), which was moved from turf to the new main track, and he'll stick with dirt against a less-than-imposing cast of challengers Saturday.
The San Fernando will share the spotlight Saturday with a pair of graded stakes for three-year-olds, the $100,000 Sham (G3) for males and $150,000 Santa Ynez (G2) for fillies.
Sidney's Candy established himself as top Kentucky Derby (G1) contender with convincing stakes victories over Santa Anita's Pro-Ride in the Santa Anita Derby (G1), San Felipe S. (G2) and San Vicente S. (G2) last year, but he faltered when trying dirt for the first time at Churchill Downs, experiencing a rough trip from post 20 in the slop. He made a seamless transition to turf two starts later, posting a 5 1/2-length score in the La Jolla H. (G2) at Del Mar, but weakened to sixth when stepping up in class in the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1).
Sadler planned to stick with turf in the Sir Beaufort, but wet weather in Southern California derailed those plans, opening up a new avenue of options for the versatile front runner. Sidney's Candy figures to be an overwhelming favorite with regular rider Joel Rosario in the San Fernando, and another dominant victory Saturday could send him to the $1 million Santa Anita H. (G1) on March 5.