Top Derby Contender Sidneys Candy
Coming into the New Year when everyone was trying to figure out who the top contenders for the Run for the Roses were going to be no one would have thrown in John Sadlers 3 year old colt Sidneys Candy, but a lot has changed from then to now. This 3 year old son of Candy Ride showed promise early on breaking his maiden in his 2nd career start by 4 lengths at Del Mar and earning a 99 Beyer Speed Figure. After finishing 4th by 7 in an allowance in December Sadler had no problem running Sidneys Candy in the Grade 2 San Vicente at Santa Anita which shows that from the start he knew exactly just how talented his colt was.
Sidneys Candy led from start to finish in the San Vicente winning by just over 4 lengths and showed that he was going to have a say in the 3 year old Derby Preps coming up in Southern California. From there he went on to win the G2 San Felipe by ½ length, but the best was yet to come in the G1 Santa Anita Derby where Sidneys Candy put on a show winning going away by 4 lengths. Lookin At LUcky lost all hope of winning the race when he got shut off on the rail by a tiring horse, but its very doubtful that he would have been good enough to beat Sidneys Candy on that day even with a perfect trip.
Sidneys Candy just keeps getting better and better with every start, and he is coming into the Derby as good as you could possibly ask for as a trainer. There have been question marks surrounding the son of Candy Ride though since he has never run on a conventional dirt track because all of his races have been in Southern California. Lets see how he stacks up with the other Derby criteria that we are looking for:
1. There are a few sires that when we see a horse was foaled by that particular sire we never question whether the horse will be able to get the two turn distance and Candy Ride is one of those sires. Candy Ride is most well known for his dominating win over Medaglia dOro by 3 ¼ breaking the track record at Del Mar in his first start in the United States. If you look at some of Candy Rides top foals you can tell his offspring dont mind a route of ground either. He sired the 2010 Santa Anita Handicap winner Misremembered, and with Sidneys Candy making the Derby field this will be the 2nd year that Candy Ride has a foal in the Run for the Roses. Last year Chocolate Candy won the California Derby and El Camino Real Derby and finished 2nd in the Santa Anita Derby before finishing a solid 5th in the Kentucky Derby behind upset winner Mine That Bird. Then if you look at his breeding on the other side his broodmare sire is the legendary sire Storm Cat, so you will not find many horses that are bred to like this Derby distance more then Sidneys Candy. His breeding also helps us to try and answer one of the question marks surrounding him on whether he can run on conventional dirt or not. His sire Candy Ride obviously didnt mind running on the dirt, but with his offspring it seems like some like synthetics (Chocolate Candy and Evita Argentina) and some like dirt (Capt Candyman Can). His broodmare sire Storm Cat has sired countless dirt stakes winners over the years also. It doesnt appear the switch to conventional dirt will affect his performance in the Derby, but that switch is something that you never really know how a horse will react until he tries it.
2. Much like with Bob Baffert, trainer John Sadler also has two horses to saddle for the Kentucky Derby, but unlike with Baffert who has two horses with completely different running styles, Sadler has two horses that both have early speed. Although Sidneys Candy has led from start to finish in all three of his starts as a 3 yr old if he is going to win the Derby he is going to have to rate behind the horses who are dueling for the early lead. In both of his two turn races this year he has been able to get away with an easy lead which is one of the question marks surrounding him. How will he react when there are other horses that are determined to get the lead? Will he be able to sit back and relax off of those horses or will he get caught in that early speed duel? We believe that he will be able to sit and relax off the speed horses, but until he is asked to do it in a race its difficult to try and predict how he will react.
3. If you look at all 3 of the top contenders for the 2010 Run For The Roses all 3 are coming into this race battle tested as not only 3 year olds, but also 2 year olds. Sidneys Candy didnt have the award winning 2 yr old campaign that Lookin At LUcky did, but he was able to get a solid foundation to build on as a 3 yr old and it showed in his early races in 2010. He was ready to roll in his stakes debut in the San Vicente, and he was able to build off each race going into the next one. If he is able to build off his last start in the Santa Anita Derby and improve off that monster effort he will be difficult to handle in the Kentucky Derby.
Sidneys Candy will be asked to do a few things he has never done before in the Kentucky Derby. He will be asked to rate and relax behind the speed horses early on and he will be asked to make the switch from the synthetic surfaces in Southern California to the conventional dirt at Churchill Downs. OUt of the Top 3 contenders that we have looked at Sidneys Candy has the most question marks surrounding him going into the race, but it also looks like out of the three he is the one that looks to be coming into a peak performance. Most handicappers prefer to choose a Derby horse that has very few question marks surrounding him because being able to maneuver a clean trip in a field of 20 is hard enough. If he handles those question marks he could win the Kentucky Derby at a solid price of around 6-1.