sat the right stalking trip and got up to win the Grade 1 Malibu by a nose at seven furlongs here on opening day. In Saturday's 9th race at Santa Anita Park, he stretches out to a mile and an eighth as the strong even money choice in the Grade 2 Strub Stakes.
The John Sadler trainee meets seven rivals in the Strub and it looks like his race to lose. Joel Rosario is 4-for-4 aboard the son of Candy Ride and he shows two local bullets since the Malibu. He won the nine furlong Grade 2 Del Mar Derby on the turf last summer and figures to sit another stalking trip today.
Twirling Candy skipped the Grade 2 San Fernando, the second leg of the Strub series, and today's rival Indian Firewater
set a slow pace and beat his uncoupled stablemate Tweebster by a nose that day. Mike Smith will probably try to wire the field again but the Bob Baffert runner might not be able to last the distance against tougher foes. Tweebster
has a great shot to turn the tables on Indian Firewater but beating the heavy favorite is another story. Rafael Bejarano and Bob Baffert are enjoying a banner meet together and he should be moving in tandem with Twirling Candy.
broke his maiden on conventional dirt at Fairplex Park and he exits a pair of underneath finishes in the local Optional Claiming ranks. He finished a neck behind Tweebster at Hollywood Park last November and he is reportedly training well for this. He can hit the board at a price.
San Fernando show finisher Do It All
is on the improve and can grab a piece of this under Patrick Valenzuela. The Eoin Harty trainee owns fine tactical speed and will offer value. Make Music For Me
, the 2010 Kentucky Derby 4th place finisher, was not a threat in the San Fernando last time. The late runner does not figure to get much pace help today and the best he can hope for is a minor award. He won an Allowance turf race at Hollywood Park in December and appears best on that footing.Honour The Deputy
is a Maryland transplant now under the care of Jerry Hollendorfer. He was a neck shy of four straight wins at Laurel Park and gets tested for class today. Garrett Gomez rides. Paris Vegas
rounds out the field. He was 10th in the Malibu and 7th in the San Fernando and the late runner looks overmatched again.
*** past performance capture courtesy of BRISJarrod Horak's Strub Stakes analysis