02/24/2009 12:00AM

Chocolate Candy goes easily

Email

ALBANY, Calif. - Northern California's top Kentucky Derby candidate, Chocolate Candy, who won the California Derby and El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields, returned to the track for a workout Sunday, turning in an easy 47.20-second half-mile work for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

The work was the fifth-best of 37 workers at the distance, and Chocolate Candy, a Candy Ride colt, was not really asked for much.

Hollendorfer was satisfied with the work, saying, "He worked real good, nice and steady."

After winning the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby, Hollendorfer pondered running Chocolate Candy in the Grade 2 San Felipe at Santa Anita on March 14 as an additional race before the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby on April 4.

"We haven't decided if he'll have a race before the Santa Anita Derby," Hollendorfer said. "If he's going to run in the San Felipe, he'll leave soon."

Merus Miami, considered Northern California's second-ranked Derby candidate, also worked Sunday after missing the Feb. 14 El Camino Real with an abscess in his left foot. He worked six furlongs in 1:14.40, the fastest time of 11 horses at the distance.

Trainer O.J. Jauregui originally hoped that Merus Miami, a Friends Lake colt, could run in Saturday's Grade 3 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita, but is now looking elsewhere.

"He worked okay," Jauregui said. "He needs another work or two before his next race. He'll probably work seventh-eighths next weekend. After his next work, I'll be able to tell you where his next race will be."

New stakes targets talent pool

Three-year-olds will be in the spotlight this weekend in Saturday's $50,000-added King Glorious Overnight Stakes at six furlongs.

The race was one of two added to the Golden Gate Fields stakes schedule after the meet started.

The track's general manager, Robert Hartman, said the race was written because of the number of good 3-year-old sprinters at the track.

Confirmed starters included Ultra Blend, who has won four straight, including the Tiburon Stakes on Jan. 10; Mr. Monkey Jones, undefeated in two starts; and Nina's Benchmark, who has two wins and two thirds as well as a fourth in the Jan. 1 Golden Bear Stakes.

Stakes-winning Charlie's Moment, based in Southern California, and Shakenwithanolive, a Greg Gilchrist-trained filly coming off a solid Jan. 9 allowance victory, are listed as possible. Charlie's Moment ran third to Chocolate Candy in the 1 1/16-mile Real Quiet at Hollywood Park last November after previously winning the Gateway to Glory at 1 1/16 miles at Fairplex. He also ran second, beaten a nose by Backbackbackgone, in the six-furlong Jack Goodman Stakes at Oak Tree.

Alvarado bags four wins Sunday

Jockey Frank Alvarado likes to end his weeks in style.

A week ago Monday, he rode four winners on a special holiday card that ended a five-day week. He rode four winners again Sunday, teaming with trainer Billy Morey for three on Hava Java ($4) in the first, Rocket Kitty ($5.80) in the fourth, and Lupita'sluckyangel ($6.80) in the eighth. He also won with the Steve Specht-trained Papa'ssarahlin ($5.80) in the fifth.

Hefty show payoffs

For many handicappers, the only question about Saturday's featured eighth race was which half of the Crafty Power-Any Wager entry would win.

But Crafty Power faded in the stretch after setting the pace and came in fifth, with his entrymate making a belated late run that fell a head short of third. As a result, there was a bonanza for show bettors on the top three picks, with $111,673 of the $121,596 show pool bet on the entry.

Winner Captain Roy paid $10.80 to win but $27.80 to show. Runner-up Old Ed paid $33.60 to show, although he paid only $7.80 to place, compared with Captain Roy's $8.60. Dance Chief, who held off Any Wager, returned $27.80.

Owners name honorees

Jerry Hollendorfer and his number-one client, George Todaro, won 2008 Thoroughbred Owners of California awards for most California purse money won and most California races won.

The pair had 117 wins from 412 starts, earning $2,247,487.

The estate of Harry Aleo tied with Jerry and Ann Moss - who were named owners of the year - for most California stakes races won with seven. The Aleo stable's wins came from Wild Promises (Mother's Day Handicap at Bay Meadows, Yerba Buena and Miss America at Golden Gate Fields, and Luther Burbank at Santa Rosa), Victorina (Marina at Golden Gate), and High Resolve (Princess at Bay Meadows and Sweepida at Stockton), each of whom has a 2009 stakes victory for Greg Gilchrist.

Wild Promises and High Resolve won the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf and Sprint at Gulfstream last month, while Victorina already has two California stakes wins: the Paseana at Santa Anita and Campanile at Golden Gate Fields.