Danzing Candy wins the San Carlos Stakes at Santa Anita Park July 1

Danzing Candy wins the San Carlos Stakes at Santa Anita Park July 1

Benoit Photo

Danzing Candy Carries Win Streak to Pat O'Brien

Twirling Candy colt defeated eventual grade 1 winner Ransom the Moon last time out.

Trainer Bob Baffert knows how valuable it is to have a horse that loves Del Mar.

Just last week he had a horse who may not be as talented (Collected) upset the highest-rated racehorse in the world (Arrogate) in the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic Stakes (G1), and a lot of that had to do with how Collected likes not only the main track at Del Mar, but the environment by the beach in San Diego County.

Similarly to Collected, Halo Farms and Jim and Dianne Bashor's Danzing Candy has given his Hall of Fame trainer signals that he's more than ready for the $200,000 Pat O'Brien Stakes (G2) Aug. 26 at Del Mar.

"It's always been that way at Del Mar," Baffert said. "It's not just the track. Some just like it here and he likes it."

So far in 2017 the 4-year-old Twirling Candy  colt has liked it pretty much everywhere he's run—outside of a third-place finish in the Joe Hernandez Stakes on the Santa Anita Park hillside turf course, which Baffert called an "experiment." Since the Hernandez, Danzing Candy has won three straight races—a one-mile optional-claiming allowance at Santa Anita May 5, the 1 1/16-mile Lone Star Park Handicap (G3) May 28, and a neck victory over eventual Bing Crosby (G1) winner Ransom the Moon in the July 1 San Carlos (G2).

BALAN: Danzing Candy Digs in Late to Win San Carlos

In to challenge Danzing Candy are five graded winners, but they lack recent winning form.

The lone grade 1 winner in the field is Gilman Racing, W. C. Racing, and Westside Racing Stable's Denman's Call, who broke through for his lone stakes win in the March 11 Triple Bend Stakes (G1), but has finished off the board in his three starts since for trainer Doug O'Neill.

BALAN: Denman's Call Upsets Masochistic in Triple Bend

Kobe's Back, a four-time graded winner, will look to end a six-race skid following dating to his last win in the 2016 San Carlos. Grade 3 winners Solid Wager, Calculator, and Home Run Kitten also have significant winless streaks in graded stakes races entering the seven-furlong Pat O'Brien a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" race for the Las Vegas Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1).

Other than Dazing Candy, the only other horse in the field exiting a stakes win is Gary Barber's Mr. Hinx, a 3-year-old Ministers Wild Cat gelding who took the Real Good Deal Stakes for California-breds last time out July 28 at Del Mar. Although he's never taken on graded competition, the Steve Miyadi trainee has five wins from eight starts and has showed versatility to score two victories on fast dirt tracks, two on turf, and one on a wet main track.

Entries: Pat O'Brien S. (G2)

Del Mar, Saturday, August 26, 2017, Race 9

  • Grade II
  • 7f
  • Dirt
  • $200,000
  • 3 yo's & up
  • 6:09 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Moe Candy (KY)Victor Espinoza119John W. Sadler6/1
22Solid Wager (CA)Martin A. Pedroza119Peter Miller20/1
33Mr. Hinx (CA)Drayden Van Dyke116Steven Miyadi20/1
44Silent Bird (KY)Kent J. Desormeaux119Mark Glatt5/1
55Blameitonthelaw (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateEvin A. Roman119John W. Sadler12/1
66Kobe's Back (KY)Flavien Prat119Peter Eurton6/1
77Calculator (FL)Rafael Bejarano119Peter Miller6/1
88Danzing Candy (KY)Joseph Talamo121Bob Baffert8/5
99Home Run Kitten (KY)Santiago Gonzalez119Peter Miller20/1
1010Giant Expectations (NY)Keeneland Sales GraduateGary L. Stevens119Peter Eurton12/1
1111Denman's Call (KY)Tyler Baze123Doug F. O'Neill12/1