Making his first start for WinStar Farm, Sidney's Candy gave his new owners plenty to smile about with a front-running, 1 1/4-length victory in the $150,000 Fourstardave S. (G2) at Saratoga on July 31.
The 4-year-old colt, sent off the 3-5 favorite, controlled the pace for the entire 1 1/16 mile trip, with jockey John Velazquez keeping at least a length between himself and his closest pursuer. After some mild early fractions, he covered the last sixteenth of a mile very quickly, in :05.85 seconds, for a final clocking of 1:43.25 on the firm turf.
“It was pretty easy,” said Velazquez. “He broke sharp. I know there was no speed in the race. When we got to the first turn, I put my hands down and he rated himself in the slow pace. I waited for them to come at us at the quarter pole before I asked him to do anything. I was a little cautious. As soon as I asked him, he responded and it worked out well for us.”
“He relaxed beautifully and Johnny said he was just going to go as fast as whoever was going to make him go,” said Todd Pletcher, who trains the chestnut son of Candy Ride. “Johnny said it is a little soft out there still, even though it’s upgraded to firm today. I thought it was a very professional effort. He had to quicken on softer ground than he’s used to, and he quickened really well. The one disadvantage to having real soft fractions is that it kind of leaves everyone in the race and turns into a sprint home, but he did it very well.”
The $90,000 winner’s share made Sidney’s Candy’s racing's newest millionaire, with earnings of $1,043,560. His record now stands at 7-4-0 from 14 starts, with graded stakes wins on dirt, turf, and synthetic surfaces.
“I’m just very pleased,” said Elliott Walden, president and CEO of WinStar Farm. “It’s a little bit of a relief when you run a horse for the first time; obviously a big favorite. The pace scenario was a little unusual, especially for a horse that comes from California and wants to run in 22 and change, 45. I was a little apprehensive about him going that slowly, but he finished up nicely, which was exactly what we wanted.”
Pletcher said they would consider the seven furlong Forego S. (G1), the 1 1/8 mile Woodward S. (G1), both Sept. 3 at Saratoga, or perhaps another turf race, for the colt's next start.