Twirling Candy , an emerging star in the handicap ranks from John Sadler's barn, worked seven furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track Feb. 27 for the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap presented by San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino (gr. I) March 5.
Under regular rider Joel Rosario, Twirling Candy, the likely Big 'Cap favorite, was timed in 1:25 flat.
“It was a very nice work,” said Sadler, who has eight graded stakes wins this meet and is cautiously confident he can win his first Big ’Cap. The 54-year-old Long Beach native finished fifth with his only other starter, Zappa, in 2008.
Jenny Craig's 4-year-old homebred Twirling Candy, a son of Candy Ride , has won six of seven career starts including the Malibu (gr. I) and Strub (gr. II) stakes by 4 ½ lengths this meet.
“He’s ready to go. He’s a wonderful horse,” Sadler said. “You’ve always got to run the race, but I wouldn’t trade horses with anybody else.”
San Antonio Stakes (gr. II) winner Gladding, a Big 'Cap probable, also worked for Sadler, going seven furlongs in 1:24 4/5.
Also working Feb. 27 was Setsuko, who drilled seven furlongs in 1:25 3/5 under Victor Espinoza, who has the mount in the Big 'Cap.
“He worked great,” trainer Richard Mandella said. “He finished (a mile) in :34 and change. He went off slow and finished strong. He’s looking as good as he ever did.”
At Hollywood Park, San Antonio runner-up Spurrier worked six furlongs in a bullet 1:11 1/5 for trainer Bob Baffert.
Baffert who has four horses nominated to the Big ’Cap, but said he has hasn't made a decision on which of them will run.
Two other grade I races will be decided on the Santa Anita Handicap card -- the Kilroe Mile on turf for older horses and the Santa Anita Oaks at 1 1/16 miles for 3-year-old fillies.