02/22/2016 1:36PM

Candy Ride has huge day at Fair Grounds

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Lou Hodges Jr./Hodges Photography
Gun Runner wins the Risen Star at Fair Grounds on Saturday.

On a stakes-loaded Saturday card at Fair Grounds, with major events on both the main track and the turf, there was one dominant sire, as Candy Ride sired a pair of stakes winners: Gun Runner, who took a step forward on the Kentucky Derby trail by winning the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes, and Chocolate Ride, who posted a repeat victory in the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Handicap. Candy Ride, a Ride the Rails horse standing at Lane’s End Farm in Versailles, Ky., just missed getting a third stakes winner on the card, as his Eagle finished second in the Grade 3 Mineshaft.

Gun Runner, who races for Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys, won for the third time in four career starts. He was making his 2016 debut after finishing fourth in last fall’s Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs.

Gun Runner is the first runner out of the Grade 2-winning Giant’s Causeway mare Quiet Giant, a half-sister to 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam. Quiet Giant also is a half-sister to Grade 3 winner Congressionalhonor, stakes winner Dance Quietly, Grade 1-placed Miss Besilu, Grade 2-placed American Dance, and Grade 1 producer Beatem Buster.

Finishing fourth in the Risen Star was another son of Candy Ride, Candy My Boy.

Chocolate Ride posted his fourth graded stakes victory on the Fair Grounds course. He won last year’s Fair Grounds Handicap and the Grade 2 Mervin H. Muniz Handicap, and this year he prepped in the Grade 3 Col. E.R. Bradley Handicap.

The unbeaten Candy Ride began his career in his native Argentina before coming to the U.S. and winning the Pacific Classic in track-record time. Among the leading sires in the U.S. in 2014 and 2015, his top runners include the late champion Shared Belief and Grade 1 winners Misremembered and Sidney’s Candy. His graded stakes-winning son Twirling Candy also stands at Lane’s End and finished second on last year’s freshman sire list.