Santa Anita Derby winner Sidney’s Candy and “now” horse Golden Itiz turned in their final works Sunday for the $200,000 Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park Saturday. The Grade II Swaps is for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on Cushion Track.
Sidney’s Candy was timed in 1:25.60 for seven furlongs under regular jockey Joe Talamo. Golden Itiz, winner of the Affirmed Handicap here on June 19, drilled five furlongs in 1:02.40 under exercise rider Jose Dominguez.
“He went really smooth all the way,” said John Sadler, trainer of Sidney’s Candy. The chestnut Candy Ride colt will try to rebound from a 17th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby on May 1.
Sadler said a combination of a bad post (20), a sloppy track and a fast pace were too much for Sidney’s Candy to handle in Louisville. “We just gave him time to get his energy back up,” said Sadler. “He’s had plenty of works over this track since he came back.”
Sadler said he might also enter Twirling Candy, another Candy Ride colt owned by Jenny Craig, but is unlikely to start. He comes off a smashing 7 ¾-length victory in a 6 ½-furlong race May 29.
“Golden Itiz worked alone this morning,” said trainer Ron Ellis. “He worked with Rail Trip last time.” Jockey Tyler Baze has the call back on the son of Tiznow, shooting for his fourth straight victory.
Ellis said he also planned to enter Pinal to assure an honest pace. Pinal was claimed for $50,000 by Jay Em Ess Stable, which also owns Golden Itiz, out of his last race, a wire-to-wire victory at six furlongs on turf July 4.
Other probable starters are Affirmed runner-up Skipshot (Joel Rosario) and Sham and Snow Chief stakes winner Alphie’s Bet (Mike Smith).
Two other nominees will probably skip the race. Trainer Bob Baffert said that Concord Point ran hard winning the Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows June 26 and would probably await another spot. Trainer Art Sherman said that he was leaning toward the opening-day Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar for Summer Movie, fourth in the Affirmed.
MARLANG FIRES BULLET FOR SUNSET
Marlang worked six furlongs in a bullet 1:14 on the Hollywood Park turf Sunday to signal his readiness for the $100,000 Grade III Sunset Handicap, closing-day feature at 1 ½ miles on turf July 18.
Marlang, a 5-year-old son of Langfuhr, will make his second start here for trainer Neil Drysdale after spending most of his career at Woodbine.
“I was very happy with his last race,” said Drysdale, thinking he got a lot out of a strong allowance test here June 27 in his first start since September. Marlang pressed the early pace in the mile turf race before fading to fifth, beaten by 3 ½ lengths.
Marlang, owned and bred by Canadian Gus Schickedanz, won two stakes at Woodbine in 2008 and led all the way to win the Grade III Saranac Stakes at Saratoga that year. Joel Rosario has the Sunset call.
Other probable starters are Buenos Dias (Brice Blanc), Champ Pegasus (Joe Talamo), Dynamic Range (Rafael Bejarano), Great Siege (Tyler Baze) and Unusual Suspect (Corey Nakatani).
A GLEAM IN SADLER’S EYE
Trainer John Sadler aims for his third straight victory in the $150,000 A Gleam Handicap for fillies and mares Saturday when he plans to send out Emmy Darling in the Grade II test at seven furlongs.
Emmy Darling, a 4-year-old chestnut filly, scored her only other added-money victory here in the Landaluce in her second start in 2008. Victorious in four of 18 starts, Emmy Darling will try to bounce back from a troubled fifth-place finish in the Winning Colors Stakes at Churchill Downs May 31.
Sadler won the A Gleam in contrasting styles the past two years: Dearest Trickski wire to wire in 2008, and Evita Argentina from last in a field of nine last year. Joel Rosario, who rode Evita Argentina, has the call on Emmy Darling.
Other probable starters are Desert Stormer Handicap winner Free Flying Soul (Mike Smith), Milady Handicap winner Made for Magic (Omar Berrio), Moon de French (Martin Garcia), Sweet August Moon (Victor Espinoza) and Will O Way (Tyler Baze).
In the 55-year history of the A Gleam, only three trainers have won it three times: Clyde Turk and Hall of Famers Laz Barrera and Bobby Frankel.
AWESOME GEM GLITTERS IN GOLD CUP REVIEW
Trainer Craig Dollase was all smiles in his stable office in Barn 54 North Sunday, basking in the afterglow of Awesome Gem’s upset victory in the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup Saturday.
“I’ll just have to decide which Gold Cup to run him in next,” said Dollase in jest, noting that Awesome Gem had recorded his previous victory in the Hawthorne Gold Cup in Chicago last year.
The 7-year-old gelding, a golden oldie, ran in the gold and black silks of West Point Thoroughbreds in securing his first Grade I win in 36 starts.
“He came back well, but he was tired,” said Dollase. “He laid his body down.”
Dollase was happy and relieved with his first Gold Cup victory after being frustrated by two earlier near-misses. The 39-year-old trainer said he celebrated with a steak dinner at Fleming’s in El Segundo Saturday night.
“Everything came together,” said Dollase, praising jockey David Flores. “David gave him a great ride. He didn’t panic. That was the winning move.”
Jeff Bloom, vice president of West Coast operations for West Point, said president Terry Finley watched the race on television from his New Jersey home. “I’m so proud of this horse to add that elusive Grade I to his record,” said Bloom.
Awesome Gem and runners-up Rail Trip and Richard’s Kid could meet again in the $1-million Pacific Classic at Del Mar August 28.
Trainer Ron Ellis said that defending champion Rail Trip, the 2-to-5 favorite who finished second after a wide trip, also came back in good shape.
“I’m a little disappointed,” said Ellis. “He will stay here and going to the Pacific Classic makes some sense.”
FINISH LINES—Trainer A.C. Avila reported that Global Hunter, who broke down after winning the American Handicap here July 4 and underwent surgery on his right front ankle the following day, is making an encouraging recovery at Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center in Los Olivos. “He’s doing fantastic,” said Avila of the 7-year-old horse, who had a plate and 16 screws inserted to stabilize the joint. If all goes well, Avila said Global Hunter would be transferred to Magali Farms before returning to his native Argentina in six months to begin stud duty…Jockey agent Tommy Ball has taken the book for Corey Nakatani, who returned to the circuit this weekend after trying his luck at Oaklawn Park and Churchill Downs. “When Churchill ends, it’s either Saratoga or Del Mar, and Del Mar is the favorite place he’s ever ridden,” said Ball. “He’s second there in stakes wins behind Chris McCarron.” Ball said that Nakatani has taken a call on Unusual Suspect in the closing-day Sunset Handicap here next Sunday…Another veteran rider, Martin Pedroza, seeks his 1,001st Hollywood Park victory after joining the elite 1,000-club in style Saturday with a win in the Triple Bend Handicap, his first Grade I here. Pedroza, who turns 45 on July 20, became the 10th member of the elite fraternity. He has won 3,200 races overall.
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