Sidney's Candy faces just four rivals in his first start of the year as the 123-pound high weight in the $150,000 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap (gr. II) at Hollywood Park May 7.
The 1 1/16-mile Mervyn LeRoy, on Cushion Track, is the third race on the program with a noon post. It shares the spotlight with the the $100,000 Senorita Stakes (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on turf, which goes as the 10th event with a 4:30 p.m. starting time (all times PDT).
The return to action for Jenny Craig's homebred arrives one year after the son of Candy Ride finished 17th in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) on a sloppy track at Churchill Downs.
Sidney's Candy, to be ridden for the first time by Alonso Quinonez, has not been out since romping to a 7 1/4-length win in the off-the-turf Sir Beaufort Stakes at one mile Dec. 26 at Santa Anita.
Sidney's Candy is a graded stakes winner on dirt, synthetic, and turf. His return has been delayed by a couple of minor injuries, according to trainer John Sadler. The chestnut colt will break from post 4 in the Mervyn LeRoy, the first of the major local preps on the Hollywood calendar leading up to the Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) July 9.
In his only prior start on the Cushion Track, Sidney's Candy was upset at 1-5 odds in the Swaps Stakes (gr. II) last summer, finishing second by a head to Skipshot . He has earned $893,560 in his career while winning six of 11 starts with two seconds.
Spendthrift Farms' Crown of Thorns comes off a disappointing seventh as the favorite in the 6 1/2-furlong Potrero Grande Stakes (gr. II) April 3 at Santa Anita. It was the 6-year-old's first start in six months for trainer Richard Mandella and improvement for the son of Repent is likely with the added distance.
Crown of Thorns, to be ridden for the first time by Tyler Baze, has banked $687,080 in his career while winning twice in nine starts with four seconds and a third. Second in four consecutive grade I races in 2009-10, his only triumph against winners came in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) as a 3-year-old.
Honour the Deputy and Spurrier, second and third, respectively, in the 1 1/2-mile Tokyo City Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita March 26, and Coffee Boy, winner of the Carry Back Stakes (gr. II) at Calder last summer, complete the field.
In the Senorita, Irish-bred filly Cambina puts her three-race winning streak on the line as the 121-pound top weight for trainer Jeff Bonde against seven rivals.
Owned by Anthony Bilich, Jason Cline, George Schmitt, and others, Cambina used a strong kick to win the Providencia Stakes (gr. IIT) by three-quarters of a length on the Santa Anita grass April 9. The Hawk Wing filly won the China Doll and La Habra Stakes (gr. IIIT) in similar fashion earlier in the year at Santa Anita.
Three-for-four since arriving in Southern California, she began her career in Ireland and boasts an overall mark of five wins in nine starts with earnings of $240,426. Brice Blanc takes over the mount.
Justenufappeal comes off a victory in the Golden Poppy on the Golden Gate Fields turf April 16, her first stakes win for trainer Steve Specht. The Exchange Rate miss has finished in the money in all six of her career starts, winning three for Praz Racing Stable and partners.
Also in the field are Bienstock and Winner's British-bred Wave of Applause, fourth in the Providencia for trainer James Cassidy after leading past mid-stretch, and George Krikorian's Star Billing, facing winners for the first time following an impressive 2 1/2-length debut maiden win on the Santa Anita turf March 18 for trainer John Shirreffs.
$150,000 Mervyn Leroy Handicap (gr. II, Race 3, Noon), 3 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Honour the Deputy (FL), B Blanc, 115, J Hollendorfer
2. Crown of Thorns (FL), T Baze, 119, R E Mandella
3. Coffee Boy (FL), J Talamo, 116, P Miller
4. Sidney's Candy (KY), A Quinonez, 123, J W Sadler
5. Spurrier (KY), C Sutherland, 115, B Baffert
$100,000 Senorita Stakes (gr. III, Race 10, 4:30 p.m.), 3-Year-Old Fillies, 1 Mile (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Hard to Resist (KY), A Quinonez, 117, P Eurton
2. Cambina (IRE), B Blanc, 121, J Bonde
3. Wave of Applause (GB), D R Flores, 115, J M Cassidy
4. Fifth Ave (GB), T Baze, 115, J M Cassidy
5. Star Billing (KY), C Sutherland, 115, J A Shirreffs
6. Great Hot (BRZ), O A Berrio, 115, A C Avila
7. Entrustment (KY), K Stra, 117, P Gallagher
8. Justenufappeal (FL), J Talamo, 121, S Specht