Although six 3-year-olds went to post in the Jan. 30 $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) (VIDEO), in the end it turned out to be a two-horse race with Joseph Rauch and David Zell’s 3-year-old Capt. Candyman Can prevailing by 1 1/2 lengths over 2-1 favorite Hello Broadway at Gulfstream Park.
After breaking second, Capt. Candyman Can was eased back to the inside off the early pace of Hello Broadway, who was initially stalked by Rocketing Returns. Jockey Julien Leparoux swung Capt. Candyman Can to the outside near the quarter pole and powered to victory, getting the seven furlongs 1:23.96. Hello Broadway was easily second best, with 35-1 shot Bee Cee Cee getting up for third.
The victory marked the fourth of the afternoon for Leparoux as Capt. Candyman Can paid $7.40, $3.80 and $2.80 as third choice. Hello Broadway returned $3.40 and $2.60 and Bee Cee Cee was worth $5.80 to show. Salo Jak was fourth, followed by Rocketing Returns and 5-2 second choice Break Water Edison.
Trained by Ian Wilkes, Capt. Candyman Can is a gelded son of Candy Ridewho was making his first start since a close-up third-place finish in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 29. Capt. Candyman Can has now won three of five lifetime starts, including the grade III Iroquois at Churchill last fall, and earned $211,645. He was bred in Kentucky by Lantern Hill Farm, Rauch, and Zell.
“He was very good today. I was able to back him off (at the rail) and take him to the outside,” Leparoux said. “It wasn’t a problem. I wanted to keep him in the clear from there. There were no excuses today.”
The rider said it was too soon to be projecting whether Capt. Candyman Can could be a contender for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). “A lot can happen between now and May. We still have a lot to do. The big difference today was he listened. His last race, he went to the front and wouldn’t listen. Today, he was good.”
“All we were looking for from him today was to relax,” said winning trainer Wilkes. “We’ve been teaching him to (relax) in the mornings, but until they do it in the afternoon you don’t know whether they get it. Julien (Leparoux) was able to get him back out of there (early speed duel down backstretch) and he came on from there. The second horse (Hello Broadway) ran a great race, too, and never gave up. We’ll talk it over with the owners, but the Fountain of Youth Stakes (Feb. 28) would certainly be logical.”