Warrior's Reward , a high-profile 3-year-old last season for owner A. Steven Miles Jr. and trainer Ian Wilkes, showed he will likely be a major player this year after winning a seven-furlong allowance feature by three-quarters of a length at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 11. Under Julien Leparoux, the son of Medaglia d'Oro rallied from seventh in a field of 10 (VIDEO).
“It was a good race for him. That was a pretty tough group for a ‘non-winners of two’ allowance,” said Wilkes, referring to the field that included several black type horses, including Imperial Council (third) and Break Water Edison (fifth).
“After last year we’ve pretty much decided that he’s best going one-turn as a closing sprinter, seven-eighths or a mile. That’s the kind of race we’ll point him for this season, although I have no specific plans just yet. We’ll enjoy this one for now. I’m very proud of him.”
Warrior’s Reward was making his first start since a runner-up effort in a six-furlong allowance race at Churchill Downs on Nov. 21. He placed in three consecutive two-turn graded stakes last year: the Northern Dancer (gr. III) at Churchill Downs, the Dwyer (gr. III) at Belmont Park, and the Jim Dandy (gr. II) at Saratoga.
Wilkes has another stakes runner getting ready for his 2010 campaign, as David Zell and Mrs. Joseph Rauch’s Capt. Candyman Can breezed an easy half-mile in :50.80 Feb. 11 at Palm Meadows. This was his first recorded workout since finishing eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Santa Anita on Nov. 7.
“It was actually his second breeze back, but the first was too slow to make the (work) tab,” said Wilkes. “He didn’t run badly (beaten 3 1/2 lengths by winner in the Breeders’ Cup), but he’s probably better on dirt. It’s too early to say when he’ll be ready, but it’s good to get him going again.”
Capt. Candyman Can, a son of Candy Ride , won the Iroquois Stakes (gr. III) as a 2-year-old, and finished third in the Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II), and won the King’s Bishop (gr. I) Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II), the Bay Shore Stakes (gr.III) and Matt Winn Stakes as a 3-year-old.