02/11/2017 5:45PM

Candid Desire becomes stakes winner with Hollie Hughes win


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Candid Desire was a source of frustration for trainer Gary Sciacca, winning just two of his first 25 starts.

Now 5, the gelding by Yes It’s True has turned his career around. On Saturday at Aqueduct, Candid Desire became a stakes winner, rallying down the center of the inner track and outfinishing Celtic Chaos to win the $100,000 Hollie Hughes by a neck. It was 1 1/2 lengths back to Drama King, the 2016 Hollie Hughes winner, in third.

Candid Desire, owned by Amanda Laderer and Gary Downey, has now won two straight, three of his last six and five of 31 for his career.

“He seems like he’s just getting himself together right now,” Sciacca said. “Just an old horse getting good. The owners were very patient with him.”

Candid Desire is at his best with a lively pace in front of him. He got just that Saturday.

Bustin It, from the outside post in the eight-horse field, was sent to the lead by Manny Franco, who earlier in the card had won four consecutive races. Bond Vigilante, the 5-2 favorite, prompted Bustin It through a quarter in 22.67 seconds and a half-mile in 45.31.
Candid Desire, ridden by Antonio Gallardo, was fourth and along the inside while Celtic Chaos, under Eric Cancel, was fifth right behind Candid Desire.

Approaching the quarter pole, Gallardo tipped Candid Desire to the outside, while Cancel kept Celtic Chaos on the inside.

Loki’s Vengance, who had been a stalking third, took the lead at the eighth pole, but Candid Desire kept coming on the outside while Celtic Chaos split horses inside the eighth pole, but couldn’t match strides with the eventual winner, falling a neck short.

Candid Desire covered the six furlongs in 1:10.19 and returned $12.80.

“My horse is better on the outside, he’s a better horse coming off the pace,” Gallardo said. “There was a lot of speed in the race and everything worked out like I wanted.”

Cancel was happy with the trip he had on Celtic Chaos, except for “a little inconvenience” in midstretch when he had to split horses.

“I didn’t really have too much space to go through and I made him go through it,” Cancel said. “He felt really comfortable doing it. He gave me all he got.”

Following Drama King in the order of finish was West Hills Giant, Loki’s Vengeance, Bust Another, Bustin It and Bond Vigilante.