11/28/2008 12:00AM

'Candyman' tries two turns

Email

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Churchill Downs mixes its metaphors Saturday. While the curtain falls on the 26-day fall meet, the sky might seem the limit for some of the 2-year-olds being showcased on a Stars of Tomorrow program.

All 12 closing-day races are for 2-year-olds, most notably the twin Grade 2 events, the Kentucky Jockey Club and Golden Rod. The $150,000 KJC Stakes, an occasional harbinger of what will unfold on the trail to the Kentucky Derby the following spring, drew an interesting cast of colts and geldings, with Capt. Candyman Can, an impressive winner on the first Stars of Tomorrow card here four weeks ago, likely to go off favored in a field of 10.

Julien Leparoux, the leading jockey at the meet, has the mount back on Capt. Candyman Can, a three-length winner of the one-mile Iroquois Stakes on Nov. 1. Trained by Ian Wilkes, Capt. Candyman Can is a $25,000 yearling purchase who appears to be facing a deeper bunch when he stretches out to two turns in the 83rd running of the 1 1/16-mile KJC.

"I'm ready, and my horse is ready," said Wilkes. "I'm very happy with him. I wouldn't want to trade places with anyone."

Star of David is the lone returnee from the Iroquois who is back to face Capt. Candyman Can, so a handful of new shooters pose the chief threats. Namely, Beethoven and Stormalory exit a key allowance route from the first "Stars" card, while Coal Baron, Big Surf, Jazzandthemagician, and Brother Keith all come off sharp maiden victories.

Big Surf, an Overbrook Farm homebred, may have the greatest upside simply because of his pedigree: He is by Storm Cat out of Surfside.

The KJC, carded as the 11th race, anchors a send-off program that co-features its sister race, the $150,000 Golden Rod (race 9). Also on tap are two $56,000 turf stakes, the Grand Canyon (race 5) for colts and geldings and the Caressing (race 10) for fillies, as well as four allowances (races 1, 3, 6, and 8). Four maiden special-weight races, all with full fields, fill out a terrific finale. First post is 11:30 a.m. Eastern.

* Curlin will be paraded on the track following the fifth race in a special farewell tribute to the all-time North American earnings leader.

* Live action on the circuit shifts Sunday to Turfway Park in northern Kentucky.