Capt. Candyman Can took over approaching the turn, maintained a narrow advantage at the top of the lane and repelled a bid from Monty’s Best in the final furlong to take the $111,100 Iroquois Stakes (gr. III) (VIDEO) by three lengths Nov. 1 on “Stars of Tomorrow” day at Churchill Downs.
Breaking from post 2 in a field of eight juveniles, Capt. Candyman Can flashed early speed under Julien Leparoux and stalked the pace set by Casey’s On Call, who burned opening splits of :22.74 and :45.69 through a half-mile. It was just after that point that Capt. Candyman Can breezed by the pacesetter and took command along the rail.
By the time they came off the turn Monty’s Best loomed the biggest threat to the son of Candy Ride. He held a narrow half-length advantage with a furlong remaining, but kept charging on from the inside until Monty’s Best gave way in the final yards.
The final time for one mile on the main track was 1:35.16. Monty’s Best finished second best under Robby Albarado, a length in front of Star of David. Gresham was fourth.
“I think he’s going to get a little bit more fit with this race,” said Leparoux, who won the 2007 Iroquois aboard Court Vision. “He got a little tired at the end, so we’ll see what happens and see if he if he can improve next time.”
Capt. Candyman Can is owned by Joseph Rauch and David Zell, who also bred him in Kentucky along with Lantern Hill Farm. He is out of the Storm Creek mare Stormy Way. Ian Wilkes is the trainer.
The bay gelding broke his maiden in a 7 1/4-length romp Aug. 13 at Saratoga under Leparoux. He then finished sixth in the Arlington-Washington Futurity Sept. 13, but was beaten just two lengths on the Polytrack.
Sent off as the favorite, Capt. Candyman Can paid $4.80, $3 and $2.40. The exacta (2-6) returned $34.60, with the trifecta (2-6-5) netting $160.60.
“That’s a nice race to win and that’s a good two-turn race and then we can really see if he can go two turns,” said Wilkes. “That’s what I really want to find out. Do I have just a miler or a come-from-behind sprinter or do I really have a contender? That’s what I want to find out the next time I run him.
“As long as he’s fine, that was my goal to run in the two races here (the Iroquois and Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes Nov. 29). After this race, we only have to worry about one more race for the year and see where we go from there."
Brave Victory finished fifth, followed by Casey’s On Call, Just Like Biscuit and Chilliness.