10/31/2015 2:30PM

Candy Bites pays dividends for new connections in Cardinal Handicap


Candy Bites, claimed for $20,000 a month ago, returned dividends to owner Michael Friedman and trainer Nabu Morales when he scored by 2 1/4 lengths in Saturday’s $75,000 Cardinal Handicap for Ohio-breds at Mahoning Valley Race Course.

The 5-year-old Candy Bites ($6.80) sat a half-length behind Alliseeisgold through a half-mile in 47.42 seconds, put his head in front at the eighth pole, and drew clear, completing six furlongs in 1:12.66 under jockey Walter De La Cruz. The 3-year-old Alliseeisgold held second, 3 3/4 lengths in front of Dubacious, who was a half-length in front of Rivers Run Deep.

Rivers Run Deep, the 3-5 favorite, was bumped and jockey Terry Houghton had to check sharply a furlong into the race. Although the stewards conducted an inquiry into the incident that involved third-place Dubacious and last-place License to Bling, they made no change to the order of finish.

It was the fifth win in eight starts this season for Candy Bites, who was coming off a runner-up finish to Rivers Run Deep in the Best of Ohio Sprint three weeks ago.

Ebby gets first win in Emerald Necklace

Ebby and Glorious Sunset, a pair of second-time starters, ran one-two in the $75,000 Emerald Necklace Stakes for 2-year-old Ohio-accredited fillies.

Ebby ($5), ridden by John McKee for trainer Bill Cowans, drew clear in deep stretch to win by 1 1/2 lengths, completing six furlongs in 1:15.32. Glorious Sunset, coming back 10 days after running 10th in her career debut at ThistleDown, finished 3 ¼ lengths clear of first-time starter Mom Genes, the early pacesetter.

Ebby is a half-sister to the millionaire mare Pay the Man, who won 18 stakes in her career, and Bold Captain, a three-time stakes winner, including the Best of Ohio Juvenile.