Candy Kitty Shows Versatility in Ginger Brew
Starlight Racing's Candy Kitty charged through an opening to the outside of battling front-runners and kicked clear to win the $100,000 Ginger Brew Stakes (VIDEO) for 3-year-old fillies Jan. 5 at Gulfstream Park.
The daughter of Lane's End resident Lemon Drop Kid won the turf event by a length from Miss Besilu, who snatched second from Stonetastic after a determined rally from fourth at the top of the lane.
Street Sailing took control in the 1 1/16-mile Ginger Brew and was chased throughout by Stonetastic. Candy Kitty was content to track from third along the rail under Edgar Prado, with Miss Besilu stalking from fourth for Jose Lezcano.
Corey Lanerie rode Stonetastic to engage Street Sailing in early stretch and the two dueled toward the finish line. Midstretch along the inside, Candy Kitten was blocked behind them, but Prado made the winning move when altering course and guiding her through an opening to running room to their outside. Street Sailing faded out of contention to sixth and multiple grade II-placed Stonetastic yielded second to maiden winner Miss Besilu by a length.
"I think the first option was to sneak through on the inside and then that kind of closed down," trainer Todd Pletcher said after the race. "Fortunately, she was agile enough to pop back outside. She's a nice little filly. I think she's just getting better and better and she's kind of learning now to run and settle in well."
Street Sailing provided a moderate tempo up front, recording quarter mile splits of :24/74, :49.07, and 1:13.63.
The 3-1 favorite in the 10-horse field, Candy Kitty was timed in 1:45.52. She has tallied consecutive stakes wins after closing 2013 with a 3 1/2-length victory in the Wait a While Stakes on Gulfstream's sloppy main track Nov. 30.
Candy Kitty launched her career at Belmont Park, finishing second going five furlongs on dirt in June before switching to turf. She broke her maiden in August at Saratoga Race Course in her third start and finished fourth in the Jessamine Stakes (gr. IIIT) in October at Keeneland in her start prior to the Wait a While.
Trainer Todd Pletcher said before the Ginger Brew that despite her strong main track showing in the Wait a While, a return to turf was a logical spot for her 2013 debut. Now the filly looks to be a versatile runner.
"I think she's probably one that could handle all three surfaces, so that puts us in a position for a lot of options," Pletcher said. "I felt like this was going to clarify which way to go and it really just opened up more options."
With an overall career line of 3-1-1 from seven lifetime starts, Candy Kitty boosted her bankroll to $204,000 with the $60,000 winner's share in the Ginger Brew.
Starlight acquired Candy Kitty for $185,000 through bloodstock adviser Frank Brothers at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale. The Kentucky-bred filly out of the Tale of the Cat mare Worthy Cat was offered by breeder Jack Swain via the Brookdale Sales consignment. Worthy Cat is a half sister to multiple graded/group stakes winner Naissance Royale.
Candy Kitty paid $8.40, $4.20, and $2 while keying a $62 exacta with Miss Besilu, who returned $6.60 and $4.40. Stonetastic paid $3.80.
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