04/04/2009 11:00PM

Capt. Candyman Can finds new niche


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Once a highly rated Kentucky Derby prospect, Capt. Candyman Can's new goal is to become the top 3-year-old sprinter in the country. He kicked off that campaign in style Saturday at Aqueduct, coming from just off the pace to record a 3 3/4-length victory in the Grade 3, $200,000 Bay Shore Stakes.

Taqarub finished second, 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Yano, who set the early pace. They were followed in the order of finish by Hatfield, Not for Silver, Rocketing Returns, King Puma, Lyin Heart, and Counter Move.

Gato Go Win was scratched due to what the stewards called a "detention barn violation," though they would not elaborate. Trainer Jeff Mullins declined to comment.

In addition to turning back Capt. Candyman Can in distance, trainer Ian Wilkes also wanted his horse to settle off the pace. Under Javier Castellano, Capt. Candyman Can did just that, settling into third behind Yano and Taqarub, who set a contested pace of 22.51 seconds for the quarter and 45.19 for the half-mile.

Capt. Candyman Can made a three-wide bid approaching the quarter pole and took command just outside the eighth pole. Capt. Candyman Can, a gelded son of Candy Ride owned by Joseph Rauch and David Zell, covered the seven furlongs in 1:22.99 and returned $4.40 as the favorite.

"I asked Javier to give me four lengths at the start and then it's his race after that," Wilkes said.

Said Castellano: "I got a good spot in the race and I just wanted to save [horse] for the end. When I asked, he took off."

Wilkes said his ultimate goal with Capt. Candyman Can is the Grade 1 King's Bishop at Saratoga on Aug. 29. He said the Matt Winn at Churchill Downs would likely be the gelding's next start.

Excelsior: Upset for Giant Moon

Hampered by foot and back problems since the last half of his 3-year-old season, Giant Moon began making up for lost time with a half-length upset in Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Excelsior Stakes.

Cool Coal Man finished second by two lengths over Barrier Reef, the 6-5 favorite. He was followed in the order of finish by Atoned, Alaazo, Real Merchant, True Resurgence, and Kurbat.

It was the first graded stakes win for the New York-bred son of Giant's Causeway, who finished fourth in the Wood Memorial on this day last year and eighth in the Preakness.

"It's so gratifying," trainer Richard Schosberg said. "I'm so happy for Mr. [Albert] Fried. We've had all the patience in the world with this horse when he showed he had some problems. The reason we ran in the Preakness is we knew we had a horse with some potential."

Coming off a win in an overnight stakes last month, Giant Moon was returning to face open company for the first time since the Preakness. Under Edgar Prado, Giant Moon stalked the pedestrian pace established by Cool Coal Man, who set fractions of 25.45 seconds, 50.69, and 1:14.76 for the opening three-quarters.

Giant Moon and Cool Coal Man hooked up at the quarter pole and dueled through the lane with Giant Moon prevailing.

Giant covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.90 and returned $29.40.

"The fractions were an advantage to the two front-runners," Schosberg said.