Twirling Candy Tackles 7 Foes in Californian

Twirling Candy Tackles 7 Foes in Californian
Photo: Benoitphoto.com
Twirling Candy takes on Setsuko and 6 others in the Californian.
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Twirling Candy   and Setsuko, on the sidelines since a rough-and-tumble Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) stretch run, are back for the $150,000 Californian (gr. II) June 4 at Hollywood Park.

Eight were entered in the 1 1/8-mile Californian, the final major prep at the Inglewood track before the Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) July 9. Six of the eight competitors ran in the March 5 Big 'Cap.

The Californian is the eighth race on the Hollywood program with an expected start of 4:38 p.m. (PDT).

Twirling Candy, who will race without blinkers for the first time, drew the rail and will be ridden by regular pilot Joel Rosario. He was the 1-2 choice in the Santa Anita Handicap but tired after being involved in the bumper-car stretch drive and finished fifth, 5 1/4 lengths behind the victorious Game On Dude.

Jenny Craig's homebred 4-year-old son of Candy Ride  , co-owned by William S. Farish and Martin Wygod, is seeking his third career win over Hollywood's Cushion Track. Trained by John Sadler, Twirling Candy is yet to win around two turns over the Hollywood surface, his two victories coming in the first two starts of his career.  

Twirling Candy won the Strub Stakes (gr. II) by 4 1/2 lengths at the Californian distance prior to the Santa Anita Handicap. He has six wins in eight starts in his career while banking $594,900.

Since the Santa Anita Handicap, Twirling Candy has worked well, including a mile in 1:38 May 29 at Hollywood.

“Twirling Candy actually came out of the `Big `Cap in good shape physically," Sadler said. "He had an abscess on his foot when he came to Hollywood Park but that was taken care of.’’

Sadler also entered  Gladding, second in the Texas Mile (gr. III) at Lone Star Park in his most recent appearance April 23. Owned by Lee and Susan Searing’s C R K Stable, the 4-year-old Sarava gelding finished 10th in the Big 'Cap after taking the San Antonio Stakes (gr. II) in front-running fashion by one length Feb. 6. He has won two of four since being privately purchased by Sadler for the Searings.

Trainer Richard Mandella sends out Setsuko, who lost the Santa Anita Handicap by a nose at 25-1 odds. Bumped hard near mid-stretch, the 4-year-old Pleasantly Perfect   colt recovered to finish a game second. Wertheimer and Frere's Kentucky homebred is looking for his first triumph since defeating maidens at Hollywood in December 2009, yet he boasts earnings of $396,686. He has been second in four of seven subsequent races.

Trainer Paddy Gallagher is represented by Aggie Engineer and Soul Candy, both local stakes winners.

Aggie Engineer wired six opponents in the Native Diver Handicap (gr. III) at Hollywood in December, and followed that with a victory in the San Pasqual Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita. The 6-year-old E Dubai   gelding makes his first appearance since finishing ninth in the Santa Anita Handicap.

Owned by breeders Roberta and Ward Williford, Aggie Engineer has won three of six over the Hollywood main track.

Winner of Oak Tree's California Cup Classic last Oct. 30, Soul Candy has been fourth in his last two races -- including the Big `Cap -- for E Z Eight Racing Stable and breeder Madera Thoroughbreds.

Spurrier has been on the board in six of his seven races over Cushion Track, including a third in the four-horse Merbyn LeRoy Handicap (gr. II) May 7. Owned by Arnold Zetcher and trained by Bob Baffert, the 6-year-old gray son of Dixieland Band is seeking his first win in a graded event.

$150,000 Californian Stakes (gr. II, Race 8, 4:38 p.m.), 3 & Up 1 1/8 Miles (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Twirling Candy (KY), J Rosario, 118, J W Sadler
2. Gladding (FL), R Bejarano, 118, J W Sadler
3. Victory Pete (FL), T Baze, 116, A Barba
4. Aggie Engineer (KY), J Talamo, 118, P Gallagher
5. Spurrier (KY), C Sutherland, 116, B Baffert
6. Soul Candy (CA), G K Gomez, 116, P Gallagher
7. Setsuko (KY), V Espinoza, 116, R E Mandella
8. Honour the Deputy (FL), M E Smith, 116, J Hollendorfer
Blinkers Off: Twirling Candy

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