INGLEWOOD, Calif. (June 1, 2011)—Defeated as the odds-on choice in the Santa Anita Handicap in his last start March 5, Twirling Candy will seek his third win over Cushion Track in the $150,000 Californian Saturday at Hollywood Park.
A Grade II at 1 1/8 miles, the Californian is the final major prep for the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup July 9. The 58th running of the Californian is the eighth of nine races. Post time Saturday is 1 p.m.
Owned by breeder Jenny Craig and William Farish and trained by John Sadler, Twirling Candy finished fifth at 1-2 in the Big `Cap, weakening after being involved in a bumper-car like incident early in the stretch with eventual winner Game On Dude and runner-up Setsuko, who is also in the Californian lineup.
A 4-year-old Candy Ride colt out of the Chester House mare House of Danzing, Twirling Candy has won six of eight and earned $594,900. He won the Strub Feb. 5 at Santa Anita by 4 ½ lengths in his last try at nine furlongs.
The dark bay has yet to win around two turns at Hollywood Park. His victories came at seven and 6 ½ furlongs in the first two races of his career. Twirling Candy finished fourth as the 7-10 choice in the Goodwood Handicap at the Californian distance during the Oak Tree meet last Oct. 2.
Since the Santa Anita Handicap, Twirling Candy has worked well, including a mile in 1:38 Sunday over Cushion Track.
“Nice and smooth,’’ said Sadler in describing the drill. “Twirling Candy actually came out of the `Big `Cap in good shape physically. He had an abscess on his foot when he came to Hollywood Park but that was taken care of.’’
Sadler will also be represented by Gladding. Owned by Lee and Susan Searing’s C R K Stable, the 4-year-old Sarava gelding out of the Island Whirl mare Carson Whirl has won three of 12 and earned $199,825. He has won two of four since being privately purchased by Sadler for the Searings, including a one-length victory in the San Antonio, a Grade II, Feb. 6 at Santa Anita.
Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella will try for his third Californian win – previous wins came with Big Ten (2000) and Kudos (2003) – when he sends out Setsuko.
Beaten by a nose at nearly 26-1 in the Santa Anita Handicap, the 4-year-old son of Pleasantly Perfect and the Mr. Prospector mare Dance With Grace has one win in 12 attempts for breeders Wertheimer and Frere and earnings of $396,686.
The lone victory for the Kentucky bred was against maidens over Cushion Track Dec. 17, 2009. He has been second in four of seven subsequent races.
Like Sadler, trainer Paddy Gallagher is scheduled to have two participants, both local stakes winners.
Aggie Engineer, who wired six opponents in the Native Diver Handicap, a Grade II, at the Californian distance last Dec. 4, will be making his first appearance since finishing ninth in the Santa Anita Handicap.
Owned by breeders Roberta and Ward Williford, the 6-year-old E Dubai gelding out of the Dixieland Band mare Papalma has won seven of 19 and has a bankroll of $376,280. He is 3-for-6 over the Hollywood Park main track.
Winner of the California Cup Classic last Oct. 30 during Oak Tree, Soul Candy has been fourth in his last two races – including the Big `Cap – for EZ Eight Racing Stable and breeder Madera Thoroughbreds. The 5-year-old Birdonthewire gelding out of the Lil Tyler mare Just Satisfaction has four wins in 14 outings and earnings of $301,300.
Third in the four-horse Mervyn LeRoy Handicap May 7, Spurrier has been on the board in six of his seven races over Cushion Track. Owned by Arnold Zetcher LLC and trained by Bob Baffert, the 6-year-old gray son of Dixieland Band and the Valiant Nature mare Humble has won five of 30, earning $366,947.
A win by Spurrier would be his first in a graded event. Baffert was second in the 2010 Californian with Sangaree.
The trailer in the Mervyn LeRoy, Honour the Deputy is also seeking an initial graded success. Owned by a partnership that includes Barnett Stables, Mark DeDomenico LLC and George Todaro and trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, who won this race in 2008 with Heatseeker, the 4-year-old Honour and Glory gelding out of the French Deputy mare Deputy’s Delight has three victories in eight races and has earned $96,224. All of his wins were achieved at Laurel in Maryland. He is 0-for-4 in California.
Beaten by a neck at 15-1 in a turf allowance May 8, Victory Pete will be looking for his second win on a synthetic surface. Owned by Ellen and Peter Johnson, the 6-year-old Five Star Day horse and the Tabasco Cat mare Blabby B. has three wins in 18 starts and a bankroll of $241,340.
From inside out, the field for the Californian: Twirling Candy, Joel Rosario rides, 118 pounds; Gladding, Rafael Bejarano, 118; Victory Pete, Tyler Baze, 118; Aggie Engineer, Joe Talamo, 118; Spurrier, Chantal Sutherland, 116; Soul Candy, Garrett Gomez, 116; Setsuko, Victor Espinoza, 116 and Honour the Deputy, Mike Smith, 116.
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