07/08/2017 5:00PM

Candy Exchange all the way in Hoover Stakes

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Coady Photography
Candy Exchange and jockey Pablo Morales win the Hoover Stakes by three lengths.

Candy Exchange turned back favored stablemate Awaken for a wire-to-wire win in the $75,000 Hoover Stakes for Ohio-bred juveniles on Saturday at Belterra Park.

Candy Exchange, who won his debut by 9 1/4 lengths on June 23 at Thistledown, and Awaken, who scored by 6 1/4 lengths on June 14 at the same track, are both homebreds for the partnership of Eclipse Award-winning breeder WinStar Farm and trainer Tim Hamm’s Blazing Meadows Farm. Capeheart Equine is also in the ownership group of Candy Exchange ($9), who was sent away as a narrow second choice in the Hoover.

When the gates opened, it was Candy Exchange, away smartly from post 6 under Pablo Morales, who got the jump on the field, quickly crossing over to save ground and assume command by a length through an opening quarter of 22.54 seconds. Awaken, with Irwin Rosendo in the irons from post 2, raced between Run the Numbers and Little Blaker and made his move to pull up on the outside of his stablemate around the far turn.

But Candy Exchange kicked on well when straightened into the lane and repelled his rival. Under a vigorous hand ride from Morales, he continued to widen his advantage through the final furlong to hit the wire three lengths in front, completing the 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:04.53.

After Awaken, it was another 6 3/4 lengths back to the maiden Tiz a Rush, who recovered from a stumbling break to nip Run the Numbers by a neck for third.