Sidney's Candy, making his first start since setting the pace and fading in the TVG Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) last month, is the one to beat in the $150,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes (gr. IIT) on opening day of the 2010-11 Santa Anita season Dec. 26.
The turf feature for 3-year-olds, the seventh race on a nine-race program with a probable post of 3 p.m. PST, supports a card that includes a pair of grade I stakes also for sophomores, the Malibu and La Brea, and the $100,000 California Breeders' Champion for 2-year-olds. Sidney's Candy, romping winner of the La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIT) on turf at Del Mar in August, faces eight rivals in the one-mile Sir Beaufort.
Jenny Craig's brilliant homebred son of Candy Ride set an uncontested pace in the Breeders' Cup Mile but was overwhelmed in the stretch and faded to sixth, beaten three lengths, as Goldikova registered her unprecedented third consecutive victory in the race.
Sidney's Candy surely had an excuse for tiring. He had not had a race since his 5 1/2-length front-running victory in the La Jolla, his grass debut, nearly three months earlier. A scheduled start in the Oak Tree Mile (gr. IIT) in early October was dropped at the last minute when it appeared the colt was going to be sold. The purchase reportedly fell through.
Joel Rosario retains the mount on Sidney's Candy, who breaks from post 5 under 123 pounds, five more than each of his rivals.
Sidney's looks to cap a year that also included victories in the San Vicente (gr. II) and an Felipe Stakes (gr. II) and the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I)—all over Santa Anita's Pro-Ride synthetic surface—prior to a troubled 17th-place run in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). He has won five of 10 lifetime starts with two seconds and $803,560 in earnings to lead the field.
British-bred Sebastian Flyte will be shortening up considerably for the Sir Beaufort. He comes off a fast-closing second by a head as the 7-5 favorite to Haimish Hy in the 10-furlong Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) Nov. 28. He was in tight at the start of the race and was forced to steady at the eighth pole.
Trainer Ben Cecil gives Julien Leparoux the call on Sebastian Flyte, who was favored in the Hollywood Derby after closing strongly in the 1 1/8-mile Oak Tree Derby (gr. IIT) at Hollywood Park Oct. 18. He finished fourth that day, beaten by less than a length.
Sebastian Flyte, a son of Observatory that began his career in Ireland, is owned by Triple B Farms. He is seeking his second U.S. win in four starts.
Also coming out of the Oak Tree Derby is French-bred Blue Panis, who ran second after setting the pace for trainer and co-owner Fabrice Chappet. Blue Panis disappointed as the pacesetter in the Hollywood Derby, finishing seventh after bumping mid-stretch and weakening late. He returns to a more favorable distance here.
Make Music for Me bounced back from his eighth-place showing as the favorite in the Oak Tree Derby to win a first-level allowance by a nose for trainer Alexis Barba Dec. 12 at Hollywood. Ellen and Peter Johnson Sr.'s fourth-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby has won two of three starts on turf.
Jon Kelly's Bogie, an Irish-bred colt from the Paddy Gallagher barn, has not been out since June at Hollywood when he finished second in the Will Rogers Stakes (gr. IIIT) as the 7-5 favorite following a furious late charge that came up a neck short. Garrett Gomez has the mount for the first time.
Indian Firewater, coming off a win in Hollywood's Nashville Stakes on Cushion Track Nov. 18, makes his turf debut for trainer Bob Baffert. The son of Indian Charlie has finished in the money in all seven of his starts in 2010.
$150,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes (gr. IIT, Race 7, 3 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 Mile (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Blue Panis (FR), J Talamo, 118, F Chappet
2. Nextdoorneighbor (FL), V Espinoza, 118, M Machowsky
3. Bogie (IRE), G K Gomez, 118, P Gallagher
4. Sebastian Flyte (GB), J R Leparoux, 118, B D Cecil
5. Sidney's Candy (KY), J Rosario, 123, J W Sadler
6. Indian Firewater (KY), R Bejarano, 118, B Baffert
7. Stephen's Got Hope (TX), M A Pedroza, 118, D F O'Neill
8. Make Music for Me (KY), M E Smith, 118, A Barba
9. Accelerant (CA), A Quinonez, 118, D Warren