Sidney's Candy surges to win in San Vicente Stakes

BY foxsports • February 15, 2010

Sidney's Candy soared back into the Kentucky Derby picture Monday night with a victory over Tiny Woods and Classical Slew in Santa Anita's 69th running of the seven-furlong $150,000 San Vicente Stakes for 3-year-olds.

Ridden by Joe Talamo, Sidney's Candy matched strides early with trainer Bob Baffert's Tiny Woods before leaving his rival behind 4 1/4 lengths when crossing the wire in 1:20.91, the second-fastest running in a race that has served as a proving ground for nine Kentucky Derby champions.

``I was confident he'd bounce back with a good effort today,'' Talamo said. ``I couldn't believe that final time. That's awesome. It's very exciting to have a horse of this caliber.''

Tiny Woods, after chasing Sidney's Candy through fractions of 22.77, 45.50 and 1:08.62, held second by 1 3/4 lengths over Classical Slew in the field of seven. Baffert's other entrant, 5-2 second choice Quiet Invader, finished fifth.

Sidney's Candy paid $6.20, $3.60 and $2.40. Tiny Woods, ridden by Victor Espinoza, returned $3.80 and $2.60. The show price on Classical Slew, with Rafael Bejarano aboard, was $4.

Sidney's Candy generated high expectations following a dazzling maiden victory last summer at Del Mar, but he stumbled through a disappointing comeback performance in an allowance event on Dec. 30 at Santa Anita, ending fourth in a five-horse field at odds of 3-5 following four months on the sidelines while sore shins healed.

Sidney's Candy's trainer John Sadler said he wasn't sure what would be next for the homebred son of Candy Ride.

``The reason I didn't want to go into an allowance race is because of the graded earnings for the big stuff,'' Sadler said in a reference to the Kentucky Derby. ``He'll be going around two turns next time, that's for sure. Which one of those races it is, we don't know yet.''

The victory in the San Vicente was worth $90,000 to Sidney's Candy, which lifted his total to $133,560 from a 2-1-0 mark in four starts. Tiny Woods had beaten him by a head in his first start on July 25 at Del Mar and again when victorious in the comeback effort.

Also on Monday, Tuscan Evening captured her eighth victory in 12 U.S. starts in Monday's co-feature, the $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap, while defeating 35-1 longshot Eissoai by 2 1/4 lengths and covering one mile on turf in stakes record time of 1:33.47.

The 5-year-old Irish-bred mare's U.S. record became 8-1-2 in 12 starts for earnings of $626,555, including the Buena Vista's winning share of $90,000. She had arrived with $92,851 in the bank while still a maiden.

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