Colonel John’s victory in the 2007 Real Quiet Stakes at Hollywood Park proved to be a good omen. The colt went on to win the Santa Anita Derby and the Travers Stakes (both gr. I). The owners of Chocolate Candy, this year’s winner of the Real Quiet Stakes, can only hope the Fates treat them so well. Given that Chocolate Candy broke Colonel John’s stakes record when mastering the 8 1/2–furlong test, the Fates seem to be smiling.
Bred in Kentucky by Sid and Jenny Craig and racing in the silks of the Craig Family Trust, Chocolate Candy is the third stakes winner from the first crop of Candy Ride(ARG), who had previously sired Sorrento Stakes (gr. III) heroine Evita Argentina and Iroquois Stakes (gr. III) winner Capt. Candyman Can. Fifth on the freshman sire list as of Nov. 12, Candy Ride appears to be making headway despite some initial doubts about his potential as a sire.
Those doubts were not engendered by Candy Ride’s race record. As a 3-year-old in his native land, Candy Ride was unbeaten in three starts, including the Premio San Isidro and the Premio Joaquin S. de Anchorena (both Arg-I), both at 1600 meters on turf. In the latter race, he set a world’s record of 1:31.01 for the so-called "metric mile" and became Argentina’s 2003 champion miler.
Purchased by the Craigs and sent to the barn of Ron McAnally, Candy Ride was equally impressive in a brief American career at 4. After warming up with an allowance win at Hollywood Park, the colt won the American Handicap (gr. IIT) over Special Ring, a two-time winner of the Eddie Read Handicap (gr. IT). Candy Ride’s last race was the 10-furlong Pacific Classic (gr. I) at Del Mar. In spite of the race being on dirt and at a longer distance than he had ever attempted, Candy Ride simply toyed with multiple grade I winner Medaglia d’Oro, winning by three and a quarter lengths in track record time of 1.59.11 and earning a Beyer speed figure of 123. Unfortunately, foot problems prevented further racing, and Candy Ride retired to Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms having won all six of his starts by an average of nearly six lengths.
Pedigree was the main reason why Candy Ride’s initial stud fee was set at a modest $10,000. His sire, Ride the Rails, is a stakes-winning son of Cryptoclearance out of Herbalesian, a Herbager half-sister to 1966 Santa Anita Derby winner and successful sire Boldnesian (by Bold Ruler) and 1968 Hollywood Gold Cup Handicap winner Princessnesian (by Princequillo). Although the sire of some good horses in Argentina, Ride the Rails has so far gotten nothing memorable from his single season in California in 2004.
The distaff side of Candy Ride’s pedigree is less familiar. A half-brother to Argentine group III winner Candy Apple (ARG) (by Halo Sunshine), Candy Ride was produced from unraced Candy Girl (ARG), a full sister to dual Argentine Classic winner City West (ARG). Candy Girl is by the Blushing Groom (FR) horse Candy Stripes, familiar to North Americans as the sire of 2006 Horse of the Year Invasor (ARG), and out of the unraced Farnesio (ARG) mare City Girl. The female line entered Argentina from France in the 1970s and has been a good source of group winners since its introduction.
Hill ‘n’ Dale’s pricing paid off with a good response from mare owners. As of Nov. 12, Candy Ride has 123 named foals in his first crop, of which 34 have started and 15 have won. Given that Candy Ride was not a precocious juvenile himself, there is reason to believe that these figures will improve.
Both of Candy Ride’s grade III winners are from mares by sons of Storm Cat and with Valid Appeal occupying a prominent place on the distaff side, breeding that would suggest early speed as its strong suit. Chocolate Candy, however, comes from a different type of background on the female side. His dam, Crownette, is a stakes-winning daughter of Seattle Slew out of In Memory, a mare closely related to Affirmed. By Alydar (whose sire, Raise a Native, is also the sire of Affirmed’s sire, Exclusive Native) and out of Affirmed’s dam Won’t Tell You, In Memory was unplaced in three starts and produced three fillies in the United States before being exported to Japan. Chocolate Candy is the only stakes winner produced by Crownette, whose broodmare career has been hampered by frequent barrenness. On the bright side, Crownette did produce full sisters to Chocolate Candy in 2007 and 2008.
The Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) has been tentatively penciled in as the next dance on Chocolate Candy’s card, and a good performance there would definitely mark the colt as one to watch for next year. With a maturing mental attitude and a female family that strongly suggests the ability to stretch out to classic distances, this seems to be a youngster whose first sweet taste of success is not likely to be his last.