In spite of the distractions caused by a gruesome racetrack collision and a wailing siren that Churchill Downs uses to warn horsemen that there is trouble on the racetrack, Chocolate Candy turned in a professional and fast work April 27.
Breezing for the final time prior to his scheduled start in the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I), the 3-year-old son of Candy Ride covered five furlongs in :59 1/5. The time was second-fastest among the 26 horses that breezed that distance. The quickest was turned in by one of Chocolate Candy’s Derby rivals, Friesan Fire , who stopped the clock in :57 4/5.
With jockey Mike Smith aboard, Chocolate Candy posted splits of :12, :23 3/5, :35 3/5, and :47. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:12 4/5.
“It was a real nice work; we’re very pleased,” said Chocolate Candy’s trainer, Jerry Hollendorfer. “I told Mike to do the same thing that he did at Santa Anita (in an April 12 workout), and he (Chocolate Candy) went in exactly the same time, :59 1/5.”
Chocolate Candy had already begun his work when one horse crashed into another in front of the Churchill grandstand. According Darren Rogers, Churchill’s senior director of communications, a horse lost its rider at the top of the stretch and was running at full speed when it collided with a horse that was standing near the outside rail. Churchill officials still were gathering information about the incident late in the morning, and few details were available.
“It was very fearful for everybody,” Holldendorfer said. “Because of the tents and the stands set up (in the infield), a lot of people couldn’t really see what was happening (from the backstretch). I still don’t know exactly what happened, but you’re always fearful when something is going on, on the track, and your horse has already broken off. Right after the he broke off, the horn went off, but apparently Mike felt comfortable going on, and when he saw what it was, he went right on past it.”
A grade III winner, Chocolate Candy finished second to Pioneerof the Nile in the April 4 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I). Chocolate Candy has raced in California for his entire career, running only on tracks with synthetic surfaces.
“The trend coming off of the synthetic tracks – as far as what we believe in California – is that we think that our horses move up a little bit on the dirt, and they seem to handle it well,” Hollendorfer said. “I don’t think every horse does that, but a lot of them do. I think with our two breezes that we’ve had here, I like our horse for running on the dirt.”
Chocolate Candy also breezed at Churchill April 21, covering a mile in 1:42.
Hollendorfer said the colt would be schooled in the starting gate prior to the Derby.
Produced from the Seattle Slew mare Crownette, Chocolate Candy is a homebred that races for the Sid and Jenny Craig Trust. He was bred in Kentucky.