TROUBLED SIDNEY'S CANDY BEATEN IN RETURN BY TINY WOODS; BAFFERT THEN UNVEILS VICTORIOUS BLUEBLOOD TAKE CONTROL

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 30, 2009) – The much-anticipated return of Sidney’s Candy, who became a “buzz” horse in the 2010 Triple Crown picture last summer after a dazzling maiden victory at Del Mar, never had much of a chance Wednesday at Santa Anita.

As the 3-5 favorite in a $46,000 allowance event for 2-year-olds at six furlongs, the son of Candy Ride was virtually eliminated after he hopped at the start of the six-furlong event won in wire-to-wire fashion by trainer Bob Baffert’s Tiny Woods.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 30, 2009) – The much-anticipated return of Sidney’s Candy, who became a “buzz” horse in the 2010 Triple Crown picture last summer after a dazzling maiden victory at Del Mar, never had much of a chance Wednesday at Santa Anita.

As the 3-5 favorite in a $46,000 allowance event for 2-year-olds at six furlongs, the son of Candy Ride was virtually eliminated after he hopped at the start of the six-furlong event won in wire-to-wire fashion by trainer Bob Baffert’s Tiny Woods.

One race later, Baffert unveiled another colt that generated some buzz of his own: Take Control, a $1.9 million son of 1992 Horse of the Year A. P. Indy who is the first foal out of the champion mare, 2002 Horse of the Year Azeri. Purchased by Kaleem Shah at the Keeneland April sale of selected 2-year-olds in training, Take Control sold for more than triple the next highest price.

Making his racing debut in a one-mile maiden event that drew a field of eight 2-year-olds, Take Control was last turning for home. He raced greenly through the stretch, and then stunningly kicked clear to dominate by 1 ½ lengths under jockey Martin Garcia and make his 5-2 odds look extremely generous. His winning time was 1:37.64. Favored Ivory Fudge finished second in the $45,800 event.

“I didn’t think he could win first time out,” said Baffert, “but he really impressed me. He was green, but he settled well and he overcame a lot of trouble. That was a good one to get; now we’ve got our 2-year-old start out of the way. He’ll run all day, and we’ll let him tell us what’s next.

“We’re not going to ship out of town until March because the weather’s terrible all around the country. I think we’re seeing two stars develop here – I thought Martin rode him great. He rode him like he had ice water in his veins.”

Also ridden by Garcia, Tiny Woods covered his distance in a brisk 1:08.49 while denying the closing bid of Cardiff Giant by three-quarters of a length.

It happened to be Tiny Woods’ second victory over Sidney’s Candy after having won the first start for both by a head at Del Mar on July 25. But the latter came back with a smashing four-length maiden win four weeks later while blistering 5 ½ furlongs in 1:02 3/5 and demonstrating an eye-catching turn-of-foot.

The colt, bred by the late Sidney Craig and owned by the Craig Family Trust of Jenny Craig, came out of the race at Del Mar with two sore shins. “We just freshened him up to get him ready for 2010,” said his trainer, John Sadler.

With Joe Talamo in the saddle, Sidney’s Candy abruptly hopped at the start of Wednesday’s comeback race. He rushed into contention, made a move rounding the far turn, but Sidney’s Candy understandably gave way in the stretch, settling for fourth.

A Florida-bred son of Roman Ruler owned by Thoroughbred Legends Racing Stable, Tiny Woods paid $13.80, $7.20 and $4.80. Cardiff Giant, ridden by Christian Santiago Reyes, paid $8.20 and $5.20. Indian Firewater, who finished third 4 ½ lengths behind the runner-up with Garrett Gomez aboard, returned $3.60.

It was the second win in four sprint starts for Tiny Woods, who may be best suited for racing’s shorter distances, according to Baffert. The winning purse of $27,600 boosted his earnings to $65,200.

“He ran like he’s supposed to,” Baffert said in the winner’s circle. “He’s probably a sprinter, and he’s been training real good. We’ve always been high on him, and I think we’ll just stay here with him and hopefully he keeps running good.”

The back-to-back wins by Baffert runners gave the Hall of Fame trainer seven victories at the Santa Anita meet with the fourth day still in progress. Racing continues on Thursday with an eight-race card beginning at 1 p.m.

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