Trainer John Sadler’s overwhelming favorite, Twirling Candy, used a huge rally from fifth at the top of the stretch to win the $150,000 Californian Stakes on Saturday at Hollywood Park.
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Ridden by Joel Rosario and running for the first time without blinkers, Twirling Candy was tentative at first and nearly dropped to last. But he found his footing in the stretch and took the lead in the final sixteenth to beat Setsuko by 1-1/4 lengths, covering 1-1/8 miles in 1 minute, 50 seconds.
”He was very relaxed without the blinkers,” Rosario said. ”He can do anything. When he sees horses in front of him he just goes and gets them.”
The winner paid $2.80 for a win bet.
The victory ended an 0-for-24 stakes drought for Sadler, who opened 2011 with a hot streak of several stakes wins at Santa Anita.
”I’m happy to win this one today and look down the road,” said Sadler, who is pointing Twirling Candy toward the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 9.
A 4-year-old owned by a group that includes Martin Wygod, Twirling Candy has won seven times in 10 lifetime starts and earned $684,900.