Race of the Week 2017

Sidney's Candy Fires Turf Bullet

WinStar Farm's Sidney's Candy had his first grass work for his new connections this morning, zipping five furlongs in a bullet 57.60 under jockey John Velazquez on the Oklahoma training track turf course.


"It was great," said Velazquez, who had worked Sidney's Candy on the dirt at Belmont Park after his arrival from California in June. "They told me just to let him do it, so I did."


The move was the fastest of five at the distance for last year's Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby winner, whose next start has yet to be determined, according to WinStar president and racing manager Elliott Walden and trainer Todd Pletcher.


"Everything's an option with this horse," said Pletcher of Sidney's Candy, who galloped out in 1:09 and 2/5. "He's obviously proven on all three surfaces. We haven't had an opportunity to breeze him on the turf yet. We just figured we would, to see how he handles it compared to the dirt. He handles everything pretty well."


While Sidney's Candy remains under consideration for the Grade 1 Whitney on August 6, Walden said after the work that he was leaning against a start in the 1 1/8-mile race for the 4-year-old Candy Ride colt.


"The nice thing about him is you have so many options," said Walden of Sidney's Candy, one of California's top handicap horses before being acquired in a private sale by WinStar in June. "We are leaning against the Whitney because of the 1 1/8 miles. I think he's a true miler. The surface doesn't matter as much as the distance. We're still figuring him out. The Forego is something to be under consideration; the Whitney looks like it's coming up tough. Horses seem to get caught in the last few jumps. He's been first or second in something like 56 of his 64 points of call."


Pletcher ticked off a number of options for Sidney's Candy, who in his most recent start was beaten a nose in the Grade 2 American Handicap on the turf at Hollywood Park on Memorial Day. Among the most immediate he listed were the Grade 2 Fourstardave at 1 1/16 miles on the turf on July 31, the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt at six furlongs on the main track on August 7, the Grade 1 Arlington Million on the turf at Arlington Park on August 13, the Grade 1 Forego at seven furlongs on the main track on September 3, and for good measure, the Grade 1 Sword Dancer on the turf on August 13.


"Maybe we'll try him at 1 ½ miles," he joked.


In addition to Sidney's Candy, Pletcher also sent out Mike Repole's Stay Thirsty for a maintenance work Sunday morning in preparation for Saturday's Grade 2, $500,000 Jim Dandy under jockey Javier Castellano. The Bernardini colt, most recently second in the Belmont Stakes, went five furlongs in a comfortable 1:01.64.


"Excellent, really good," said Pletcher. "He went 1:01 and change the right way, finished up real good and galloped out really well. It was a nice, comfortable breeze for him and I'm happy with him. He's a pretty straightforward horse, low-key, very professional. He had a nice little freshening since the Belmont, and yet he's still pretty fit. So I think it's right where we'd want him to be."


The winner of the Grade 3 Gotham has had two starts at Saratoga in his career, a 5 ½-length maiden victory last August 14 and a second to Boys At Tosconova in the Grade 1 Three Chimneys Hopeful.


"He's just coming into his own right now," said Repole, who was on hand for the work. "I think the one big advantage he has his two races over this track, winning his maiden by [almost] 6 lengths and then finishing second to Boys At Tosconova by 1 ½ lengths in the Hopeful, which is nothing to be ashamed of."


Pletcher added that Buster's Ready came out of her fourth-place finish in Saturday's Grade 1 TVG Coaching Club American Oaks in good shape, and that plans for her next start were still undetermined.




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