Having a horse on the Kentucky Derby trail is something that most horsemen can only dream about. But for trainer Ian Wilkes and owners Joseph Rauch and David Zell, having fun is more important than dreams of Derby glory.
So when Capt. Candyman Can finished a well-beaten fourth as the favorite in the Fountain of Youth (gr. II), the trio had no qualms about pulling him off the road to the Triple Crown.
“It was exciting, but when I do go to the Derby I want to go with a horse that has a legitimate shot at winning,” said Wilkes, who saddled the former Derby hopeful to victories in the Iroquois (gr. III) at Churchill Downs at age 2 and the Hutcheson (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park in his 3-year-old debut. “I don’t think this horse can go two turns. So after the Fountain of Youth, we talked and decided to have some fun and keep him short.”
Accordingly, while Capt. Candyman Can will be running at Aqueduct April 4 in the $200,000 Bay Shore Stakes (gr. III) at seven furlongs, the seventh race on an 11-race card that includes the Wood Memorial (gr. I).
“The owners are very realistic,” said Wilkes, who will give a leg up to new rider Javier Castellano in the Bay Shore. “And the one thing they’ve always told me is they want what’s best for the horse.”
While the Bay Shore distance suits Capt. Candyman Can, the leading money-earner in the field with $224,145, he will be facing a big field of sophomores in varying stages of development, including a pair from trainer Kiaran McLaughlin in the lightly-raced Counter Move, 2-for-2 for owner Don Amos, and the more seasoned Taqarub, who was ninth in the Fountain of Youth for Shadwell Stable.
“Counter Move broke running in his last race, but he will not be on the lead in the Bay Shore,” said McLaughlin of the son of Vindication, who went wire-to-wire to win an optional claimer over the inner track at Aqueduct on March 7. “He drew post No. 2 and will most likely be stalking Taqarub, who will have to be quick leaving from post No. 10. Both are training well and it looks like a good spot for them.”
John Velazquez rides Counter Move, while Richard Migliore is aboard Taqarub.
Making a big jump up in class is John Moirano’s undefeated Hatfield, whom trainer Gary Contessa claimed for $40,000 in a maiden race at the Big A on Feb. 1, and who stretched out to take a one-mile allowance by a length on Feb. 27.
“I expected him to win by more, but it was a more laborious performance,” said Contessa of the son of Proud Citizen, who will break from the rail with Jorge Chavez aboard. “He won on class, but he’s probably a very good sprinter. An allowance race I had picked out for him didn’t go, so we looked at the Bay Shore and thought, ‘Why not?’”
Shipping in from California with probable Wood Memorial favorite I Want Revenge is stablemate Gato Go Win, who will be making his first start on dirt for trainer Jeff Mullins and owner Joey Platts. Second in the San Vicente (gr. II) on Feb. 16, the son of City Place has a pair of victories from six starts and will be ridden by Joe Talamo from post No. 8.
Back for a return engagement at the Big A is Ted Julio’s Not for Silver, who shipped in from Laurel in February to run off with the Fred Capossela, and returned to Maryland to finish second in the Private Terms on March 21. Ramon Dominguez rides from post No. 6 for trainer Michael Trombetta.
Trainer Steve Asmussen will be represented by J.K. Robison’s Lyin' Heart, who returned from a six-month layoff on Feb. 28 to finish third in an overnight stakes at Oaklawn Park. Off the board in the Saratoga Special (gr. III) in his last appearance in New York, he will be ridden by Edgar Prado from the No. 3 post.
Completing the field are the Nick Zito-trained Rocketing Returns, fifth to Capt. Candyman Can in the Hutcheson; King Puma, second in an overnight stakes on the artificial surface at Turfway in his last start; and Yano, coming off a pair of victories at Laurel going 5 1/2 furlongs.
Download Brisnet Past Performances for the Bay Shore.