05/24/2009 11:00PM

Chocolate Candy breezes seven furlongs


ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer spent more time in the air than on the ground Monday, but he felt his 6,000-mile, cross-country roundtrip was worth it after watching Chocolate Candy breeze seven furlongs in 1:27.34 at Belmont Park.

Chocolate Candy doesn't dazzle observers with his breezes, but Hollendorfer and exercise rider Lindsey Molina both seemed content with how the colt is doing and, perhaps more importantly, how he is handling Belmont Park's sandy main track.

"This horse just skips over this track," said Molina, who has been aboard for two of Chocolate Candy's three works here. "I honestly think he goes better over this than he did at Churchill. I mean, he handled Churchill well, but [here] you don't even feel him underneath you."

Chocolate Candy has been in New York since May 6 - four days after finishing fifth in the Kentucky Derby - and has breezed three times over the main track. Hollendorfer said he was advised by Ted Aroney, racing manager for owner Jenny Craig, to come early.

"It was suggested to us that it was better to train at Belmont for awhile before you run," Hollendorfer said. "In this situation I'm guessing it was the right way to go. I didn't really want to leave him on the road that long but it's worked out okay so far."

Hollendorfer spent about two hours at Belmont on Monday morning. He took a red-eye flight from Oakland that landed at JFK Airport before 5:30 a.m. A friend picked him up and he was at Belmont by 5:45 when Chocolate Candy was getting ready to hit the track.

Chocolate Candy began his breeze at the six-furlong pole and, according to Belmont clockers, went in fractions of 24.63 seconds, 48.87 and 1:14.02.

Hollendorfer, who watched the breeze from ground level, caught his horse a little quicker, but nonetheless was happy. Hollendorfer said he was looking for "just a nice steady work which he got I think over a fairly deep racetrack."

After watching two of his other horses breeze here, Hollendorfer was shuttled back to JFK for another cross-country trip to Oakland. The urgency to get back home was due to the fact Hollendorfer was running Our Partner in the Grade 3, $150,000 Berkeley Handicap at Golden Gate Monday afternoon.

Hollendorfer plans one more breeze for Chocolate Candy next Monday or Tuesday, but was unsure whether he would be in town for it. He hoped to have Garrett Gomez up for that work. Gomez will ride Chocolate Candy in the Belmont.