ARCADIA, Calif. (July 1, 2017)–Although tag-teamed early and late, favored Danzing Candy withstood all challenges under Mike Smith to gamely prevail in Saturday’s Grade II, $250,000 San Carlos Stakes, winning by a neck while getting seven furlongs in 1:21.17. Trained by Bob Baffert, Danzing Candy shortened up out of a mile and a sixteenth win in Texas to win his third consecutive start.
Breaking from the rail in a field of five 3-year-olds and up, Danzing Candy was away alertly but was immediately engaged by the Phil D’Amato-trained Coastline who pressed him to the quarter pole, where his stablemate Ransom the Moon took over, but it was Danzing Candy who prevailed despite a desperate late surge from Ransom the Moon.
“He (broke) really well and took advantage of it today,” said Smith, who also guided him to victory in Texas. “I thought that if I (broke) well I knew they would press me, but at least I would have the jump on them, if I (broke) well enough. If they were going to make him run fast, well that’s what he does best, isn’t it?…I mean, I caught a flyer leaving there so I had to take advantage of it. That certainly helped.”
A runaway winner of the Grade III Lone Star Park Handicap in the mud on May 28, Danzing Candy, who won the Grade II San Felipe here as a 3-year-old in March, 2016, was off at 1-5 and paid $2.60, $2.10 and $2.10.
A 4-year-old colt by Twirling Candy bred in Kentucky by Ted Aroney’s Halo Farms, Danzing Candy, who is owned by Halo Farms and Jim and Dianne Bashor, now has three wins from four starts this year and is 11-6-1-1 overall. With the winner’s check of $150,000, he now has earnings of $700,930.
“The older they get, the better they get,” said Baffert. “He was always a good horse and I’m just fortunate to have him (in reference to the fact he was originally trained by Clifford Sise). Mike did a tremendous job again. He was in the one-hole and had to fight off some early speed but still had something left at the end.
“He rides these horses with so much confidence because he always has a lot of horse underneath him. He really had to dig in today.”
Ridden by Flavien Prat, Ransom the Moon tried every inch of the way and finished second, 6 ½ lengths in front of a late closing Kobe’s Back. The second choice at 5-2, Ransom the Moon paid $2.60 and $2.10.
“We had a good trip,” said Prat. “This might be a little too far for my horse, but he tried very hard. Around the turn, I thought I had him (Danzing Candy) but he fought back and we couldn’t quite catch him.”
Customarily last early, Kobe’s Back, with Gary Stevens up, ran on for third, finishing 1 ¼ lengths in front of Coastline. Off at 7-1, Kobe’s Back paid $2.20 to show.
Fractions on the race were 22.15, 44.26 and 1:08.38.