GRADE II SAN FELIPE STAKES ON MARCH 12 IS NEXT ON ROAD TO $1 MILLION SANTA ANITA DERBY
ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 4, 2016)–Favored Danzing Candy made short work of eight rivals and established himself as a serious Derby contender in taking Thursday’s $58,000 allowance feature by 5 ¾ lengths while covering a flat mile under Mike Smith in 1:36.73.
Breaking from post position six, Danzing Candy, who is conditioned by Cliff Sise, was hustled to a contending position by Smith, made the lead approaching the three quarter pole and then opened up on his competition turning for home, winning in-hand in only his third career start.
“I like him a lot,” said Smith when asked if he thought his mount was a top-tier Derby hopeful. “Once he starts (breaking) better, then we can place him and then I think he’ll really be nice. He doesn’t have to be in front. I’m having to kind of use him there early and it puts him on the lead, but I don’t really want to be there.
“The first time I won on him (maiden win going seven furlongs at Santa Anita on Dec. 26), I told Cliff ‘This might be the one that takes us that way.’ So far, I can’t say anything different today than I did then, other than today was even more impressive.”
Off at even money, Danzing Candy paid $4.20, $3.20 and $2.80.
A dark bay or brown colt by Twirling Candy, Danzing Candy was bred in Kentucky by Halo Farms and is owned by Halo Farms, Bashor and Bashor. Triple Crown nominated, Danzing Candy picked up $34,800 for the win, increasing his earnings to $68,650.
“He ran good,” said Sise. “We’re staying home here at Santa Anita with him. He seems to like this track. The San Felipe (Grade II, $400,000 at 1 1/16 miles March 12), would be next. He’s so smooth. And, when someone comes up to him, he just takes off again.”
Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, French Getaway was last into and around the first turn and made a steady late run to finish second, a head better than Semper Fortis. The third choice in the wagering at 6-1, French Getaway paid $5.40 and $3.60.
Semper Fortis, who broke from the far outside with Mario Gutierrez, was caught four-wide throughout and just missed the place in a big effort as he finished 3 ¼ lengths in front of Shred the Rules. Off at 29-1, Semper Fortis paid $7.00 to show.
Fractions on the race were 23.14, 46.60, 1:11.10 and 1:23.66.
First post time on Friday at Santa Anita is at 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m.