05/04/2009 11:00PM

Another 'Candy' on the way


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The 2-year-old filly Smooth as Candy will begin her career in the shadow of her full brother Chocolate Candy, even if he is 2,500 miles away.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said Tuesday at Hollywood Park that Smooth as Candy (by Candy Ride out of Crownette) will arrive here later this month after early breezes at Rancho Paseana in Rancho Santa Fe.

Meanwhile, Chocolate Candy shipped Tuesday to New York and will train up to the Belmont Stakes after finishing fifth in the Kentucky Derby.

"I thought he ran real well," Hollendorfer said. "He got squeezed, and instead of being midpack we were [far back]."

In addition, jockey Mike Smith told Hollendorfer that Chocolate Candy did not handle the wet track. Regardless, the Derby result validated West Coast form.

"Three of the first five horses in the Kentucky Derby were from California, so we made a good showing," Hollendorfer said, regarding Pioneerof the Nile (second), Papa Clem (fourth), and Chocolate Candy.

As for the filly, like her brother owned by Jenny Craig, Smooth as Candy could make her debut at the meet. Last summer at 2, Chocolate Candy began his career on May 22.

One Hollendorfer trainee not coming home is the good turf filly Sugar Mint, who shipped to Kentucky with Chocolate Candy only to fracture an ankle galloping at Churchill Downs. She underwent surgery to insert two screws in the break, and will be bred this spring.

A promising European import with listed stakes form, Sugar Mint won 2 of 3 in the U.S., including a second-level turf allowance March 19 at Santa Anita.

"If she doesn't take after one mating, then she'll be turned out and come back and race another season," Hollendorfer said.

Zenyatta gets back to work

The undefeated queen of California still has not raced in six months, but at least Zenyatta is home safe and sound at Hollywood Park. She returns to work Thursday after spending a fruitless week at Churchill Downs

Entered in the Grade 2 Louisville Distaff Handicap on May 1, Zenyatta was scratched due to rain and track condition. "When they floated the track rather than harrow it, that's when I decided to scratch," trainer John Shirreffs said.

It would have been her first start since the Oct. 24 Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic.

The interruption will not prevent Zenyatta from running May 23 in the Grade 2 Milady Handicap. Zenyatta flew home Monday, galloped Tuesday on the Hollywood training track, and will breeze Thursday on the main track.

"The Milady is still the race," Shirreffs said.

The Shirreffs-trained Life Is Sweet also will be nominated to the Milady, though the Grade 1 Gamely one week later on grass gives Shirreffs the option of keeping apart Zenyatta and Life Is Sweet.

The Shirreffs-trained Madeo, winner of the Grade 3 Inglewood Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on April 26, will have had six weeks between starts when he returns Juneo6 in the Grade 1 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap at 1 1/4 miles.

"The other race comes back kind of quick for him," Shirreffs said, referring to the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile on May 25.

Beaten heavy favorite returns

A 2-year-old maiden race kicks off the Thursday card, and presents the first wagering quandary of the day. Specifically, how much trust can a bettor put behind race-1 chalk Really Uptown? Although this son of Swiss Yodeler finished second by a head two weeks ago under identical conditions (California-breds, 4 1/2 furlongs), he also squandered a perfect trip as the even-money favorite. Good debut, or opportunity missed?

Trainer Mike Harrington said, "I was happy with him, I think he just got outrun and maybe was a little green."

Really Uptown, heavily bet off fast works and win-early breeding, always appeared to have the leader measured, but could not get past the front-running winner Grace Upon Grace.

Harrington has considered blinkers for Really Uptown.

"If he doesn't run by a horse this time, I will put blinkers on," he said.

A live race-1 longshot bettors should consider is blinkers-on, first-time gelding, second-time starter Sweet Tigger, trained by Walther Solis.

Golden Doc A takes class drop

A second betting quandary comes in race 7, a filly and mare allowance sprint with no restrictions that even Zenyatta was eligible to enter. In her place, Golden Doc A is either a classy cinch, or a poor-form bet-against.

Golden Doc A had been away more than five months when she finished dead last April 25 in the $150,000 B. Thoughtful Stakes. Trainer Barry Abrams said he believes she will improve, and noted she closed more than 11 lengths in her comeback to miss by less than four.

"I expect her to win," Abrams stated. "Why? - because she's never run in an allowance race. She was 80 to 85 percent ready last time. Now she's 95 percent. She's ready now."

After losing her career debut against maidens, Golden Doc A has started in 18 consecutive stakes (3 wins, 4 seconds) but has not won since the Grade 1 Las Virgenes in February 2008.

Ellis mulls trip east for Canonize

Canonize earned an 87 Beyer winning a first-level allowance on Sunday, and is the early favorite for the Grade 3, $100,000 Lazaro Barrera Handicap for 3-year-old male sprinters on May 24.

Trainer Ron Ellis, however, said a race in New York is possible. Ellis and owners Mace and Samantha Siegel will consider the Grade 2, $250,000 Woody Stephens Stakes on the Belmont Stakes undercard Juneo6.

"It's five weeks [between starts], and it's more money, but you have to ship," Ellis said. "Most likely he will run here."

California Cup Juvenile winners Lucky Primo also is targeting the Barrera as a comeback, according to trainer Marty Jones.

* The 5-for-5 Rail Trip will carry top weight when he makes his first start in a graded stakes Saturday. A small field is expected for the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap at 1 1/16 miles. Likely starters include Rail Trip, 119; Ball Four 118; Dakota Phone, 117; and Aggie Engineer and Fire Wood, both 113.

* The 5-for-5 Carlsbad runs seven furlongs Sunday in the Grade 3 Railbird Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, but she faces a serious challenge from 2-for-2 Witty. Carlsbad won the Grade 3 Santa Paula Stakes on March 29, her first start in California after winning four at Turf Paradise. Witty moves up in class after two flashy wins at Santa Anita in a maiden race and a first-level allowance. Other expected starters include Music Magic and Strawberry Tart.