Soul Candy seeks his first graded stakes win in the $100,000 Tokyo City Cup.<br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

Soul Candy seeks his first graded stakes win in the $100,000 Tokyo City Cup.
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Class Drop Fits Soul Candy in Tokyo City Cup

Closer was fourth in Santa Anita Handicap last time; faces five rivals in 2011 Cup.

A fast-closing fourth in the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) earlier this month, Soul Candy seeks his first graded stakes win as the likely choice in the $100,000 Tokyo City Cup (gr. III) at the marathon 1 1/2-mile distance March 26 at Santa Anita.

A field of six is set for the Tokyo City, which is the seventh race on Santa Anita's card with a 3:36 p.m. PDT post.

The main track event will mark the 5-year-old gelding’s first try at the distance, but his effort behind victorious Game On Dude in the Big ’Cap at 1 ¼ miles indicated the extra quarter mile could well be to his liking. Though not part of the roughly-run stretch and finish, the 5-year-old California-bred son of Birdonthewire was making up good ground through the lane to finish respectably at odds of 15-1.

“He worked really nice on Sunday (March 20), and the distance should be no problem for him,” said Paddy Gallagher, who trains Soul Candy for E Z Eigth Racing Stable and Madera Thoroughbreds.

Soul Candy used a similar strong closing style to win the California Cup Classic at 1 1/8 miles during last October’s Oak Tree meet at Hollywood Park for his first stakes victory. More recently on turf, he rallied for third behind Caracortado in Santa Anita’s $300,000 Sunshine Millions Turf at 1 1/8 miles Jan. 29.

Joe Talamo will take over in the saddle for Garrett Gomez. Soul Candy has earned $295,300 while winning four of his 13 starts.

Trainer and co-owner Jerry Hollendorfer’s Rendezvous is back for another try in the Tokyo City Cup. His late charge fell three-quarters of a length shy of overhauling victorious Tap It Light in last year’s running.

The 5-year-old son of Victory Gallop has been stuck in a lengthy winless streak. Since a victory in the 2009 Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT), Rendezvous has gone 11 races without a win. Brice Blanc will ride Rendezvous, who has earned $427,225 from a 4-3-7 record in 24 career starts.

Hollendorfer also will send out lightly-raced Honour the Deputy, a 4-year-old gelding who was third to Misremembered  in the March 6 Santana Mile. The Honour and Glory gelding chased Twirling Candy  in the Strub Stakes (gr. II) a month earlier and gave way in the stretch. Corey Nakatani will be aboard the gray who is seeking his first stakes win.

Also coming out of the Santana Mile is Southern Equine Stable's Arcodoro, who finished seventh and will be fitted with blinkers by trainer Eric Guillot. Though he has never gone the distance, Arcodoro has some speed and may be difficult to corral.

Trainer Bob Baffert’s Spurrier, a 28-race veteran, is another seeking his first stakes victory. Arnold Zetcher’s 6-year-old gray finished a non-threatening eighth in the Santa Anita Handicap. He has never raced beyond 1 ¼ miles while winning five times. Martin Garcia rides.

Spendthrift Farm’s Worth Repeating has lost eight in a row. The 5-year-old son of Giant's Causeway  has demonstrated distance potential, however. He finished a respectable fifth, 2 ¼ lengths behind victorious Unusual Suspect, in last November’s Hollywood Turf Cup (gr. IT) at 1 ½ miles. Martin Pedroza has the mount for trainer Richard Mandella.

$100,000 Tokyo City Cup (gr. III, Race 7, 3:36 p.m.), 4 & Up, 1 1/2 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Honour the Deputy (FL), C S Nakatani, 118, J Hollendorfer
2. Worth Repeating (KY), M A Pedroza, 118, R E Mandella
3. Rendezvous (KY), B Blanc, 118, J Hollendorfer
4. Soul Candy (CA), J Talamo, 118, P Gallagher
5. Arcodoro (KY), E Maldonado-Alicea, 118, E J Guillot
6. Spurrier (KY), M Garcia, 118, B Baffert
Blinkers On: Arcodoro
All carry 118 pounds.