by Alan Porter
The Swaps Stakes (previously gr. I, now gr. II) has had its share of upsets, most notably the defeats of Seattle Slew (by J. O. Tobin) and Sunday Silence (by Prized). This year’s renewal didn’t result in quite as big a surprise, but the race was widely expected to go to Grazen, an impressive winner of the Affirmed Handicap (gr. III). Grazen had dominated throughout the Affirmed, where he comfortably accounted for Misremembered , but this time Misremembered stole the game plan, going straight to the head of affairs and leaving Grazen in the unfamiliar role of chaser. The tactic worked, and Misremembered rolled home by 1 3/4 lengths.
Misremembered’s victory came just a day after it was announced that his sire, the hot second-crop stallion Candy Ride (ARG), would stand at Lane’s End for the 2010 breeding season after five years at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms. We’d have to own up to not expecting Candy Ride to make anywhere near the impression he has. Our reticence over his prospects certainly didn’t come from any lack of respect for his abilities as a runner. Indeed, his brief career suggested that he might in fact have been a phenomenon. He ran just three times in his native Argentina, winning a 1,200-meter (a few yards short of six furlongs) maiden race on dirt by 12 lengths on his debut. Switched to the turf for the San Isidro (Arg-I) at 1,600 meters. (“metric mile”), he scored by eight lengths despite the going being labeled heavy. Returning over the same distance, he took the Joaquin S. de Anchorena (Arg-I). These final two efforts were sufficient to earn Candy Ride a title as Argentina’s champion miler.
Brought to the U.S. by Jenny and the late Sydney Craig, Candy Ride began his U.S. career by taking an 8 1/2-furlong dirt allowance race at Hollywood Park by three lengths over grade I-placed Primerica. Switched to the turf for the nine-furlong American Handicap (gr. IIT), Candy Ride pressed the early pace, then prevailed by 3/4-length over grade I winner Special Ring. Back on dirt for the Pacific Classic (gr. I), and trying 10 furlongs for the first time, Candy Ride put up a spectacular display to score by 3 1/4 lengths over Medaglia d'Oro – runner-up in that year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) – in track-record time. Candy Ride looked as if he might well be the best horse in training, but trainer Ron McNally elected to send him to the sidelines. The logic behind this decision was that Candy Ride – whose owners would have had to pay an $800,000 supplementary entry fee for the Breeders’ Cup Classic – had been in training continuously for a year; had only passed his actual fourth birthday in the month following the Pacific Classic; and had rather small feet that needed time to grow out and spread. Candy Ride returned to training that December, but attempts to bring him back to the track proved unsuccessful, and after an ankle ligament injury, the decision was taken to retire him stud. Thus the bay embarked on a stud career at John Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm in Lexington, standing his initial season at a $10,000 fee.
Spectacular a runner as he was, we felt that Candy Ride’s pedigree gave us some valid reasons to question his prospects. He is by the U.S.-born and raced Ride the Rails, who was a good but not outstanding runner, winning the Foolish Pleasure Breeders’ Cup Stakes at 2, and finishing second in the Florida Derby (gr. I) at 3. In Argentina, Ride the Rails has been a solid rather than spectacular sire, and is responsible for 14 other stakes winners, including other grade I winners Good Report (ARG) and Inca Noble (ARG). Ride the Rails’ sire Cryptoclearance is a useful stallion whose best runners included the champion older horse Victory Gallop; upset Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Volponi; Canadian champion Cryptocloser; and multiple grade I winners, but he never seemed a particularly strong candidate to extend his branch of the Fappiano line. Candy Ride’s dam Candy Girl (ARG) is a daughter of the Blushing Groom (FR) horse Candy Stripes. An outstanding stallion in Argentina, Candy Stripes proved generally disappointing during his relatively brief sojourn at stud in the U.S., but from subsequent South American crops he sired back-to-back Eclipse award winners in the Argentine-born pair of Leroidesanimaux (BRZ) and Invasor (ARG).
This background not withstanding, Candy Ride’s first-crop yearlings were met with a good reception at the sales, 42 of them selling for an average of $48,561, or nearly five times his initial stud fee. The impression they made in the ring has been more than borne out at the track, and Candy Ride has now been represented by seven first-crop stakes winners, Misremembered being joined by graded scorers Capt. Candyman Can, Evita Argentina, and Chocolate Candy.
Misremembered is a first for trainer Bob Baffert, as Baffert is breeder of record, and the owners are his wife Jill and family friend George Jacobs. Apparently, Baffert acquired Misremembered’s dam, Beyond Perfection, at the John Franks dispersal, on the advice of Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm owner John Sikura. The mare was getting on in age at the time and had never produced a black-type horse, but she had been a high-class runner winning the Del Mar Debutante Stakes (gr. II). Beyond Perfection, who was 18 years old when she foaled Misremembered, is by Quack, a top-class performer on the West Coast in the early 1970s. Quack was a son of champion turf horse T.V. Lark, a grandson of Nasrullah.
Misremembered’s granddam, Miss Imorullah, is an Ohio-bred daughter of the Swaps horse Black Beard. A stakes winner in state-bred competition, Miss Imorullah is half-sister to two other stakes winners. The female line is fairly light for the next couple of generations, but Misremembered’s fourth dam, Jimo, is a half-sister to the granddam of the surprise Travers Stakes (gr. I) winner Willow Hour and his fifth dam is a sister to stakes winner Sweet Willow (fourth dam of champion sprinter Gallant Bob).