08/17/2010 2:45PM

Candies plans a return to training

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Chris Candies jumped back into racing after a near eight-year hiatus last month, when he won a Louisiana Downs optional claimer with Epiphanyfortiffany. He owns the filly and said this fall he plans to get back into training in a return that will coincide with the opening of Fair Grounds.

Candies operated a high-percentage stable between 1995 and 2003, when he raced in Louisiana, Texas, and Illinois. His best horses included T.B. Track Star, who won the $300,000 Lone Star Derby in 1999, and Caro’s Royalty, a multiple stakes winner of more than $500,000.

But the success came at a young age, and Candies, who turned 40 in March, said he soon found himself burned out on what can be a demanding sport. He gave up his stable and went to work for a petroleum inspection company his father co-owns in Houma, La.

“I missed the game,” said Candies, who has been spending some time at Louisiana Downs. “I missed something I thought I was good at. I think it was my calling. So my plan is to get back into training. I’m looking at taking a small group of about eight to 10 horses to Fair Grounds. It’s really nice getting back. People have been real positive, and I’m grateful for that. It feels like home.”

Candies claimed Epiphanyfortiffany for $17,500 at Louisiana Downs on June 10 and sent her to trainer Sherman Savoie, his former assistant. She won in her first start for her new connections, taking a $35,000 optional claiming allowance route by a neck July 30.

“She ran a great race, did everything right” Savoie said. “We’re thinking about running her in the River Cities. We’re not for sure, but we’re thinking about it. She’s doing good right now.”

The $50,000 River Cities, for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf, will be run on the Super Derby undercard Sept. 25.

Candies will operate a public stable when he returns to training and said he has horse commitments from Bobby Asaro, who raced Caro’s Royalty, and Greg Hoffman, for whom he trained multiple stakes winner Lightening Ball.

Similar schedule sought for 2011

Louisiana Downs has submitted its dates request for 2011 and is seeking a schedule similar to the current calendar that was adjusted this year in order to open and close the meet earlier than scheduled. The track has asked for an 84-date Thoroughbred meet for 2011, from May 6 through Sept. 25. Louisiana Downs also is seeking a 46-date Quarter Horse meet from Jan. 8 to March 23.

The requests will be considered at the Louisiana Racing Commission meeting Aug. 30.

In other date submissions to be heard at the meeting, Evangeline Downs has asked for an 89-date Thoroughbred meet next year, from April 6 to Sept. 5. The track has asked to race on a Wednesday through Saturday night basis. Delta Downs, meanwhile, is seeking a 46-date meet for Quarter Horses from April 16 to July 3.

Louisiana awards dates at two different times during the year, with some of its meets already set for 2011.

◗ Cape San Blas heads Thursday’s second race, a $35,000 optional claiming sprint for 3-year-olds and up that also drew the stakes-placed Pantara Phantom and wire-to-wire threat Ranger Danger.