07/01/2017 6:08PM

Danzing Candy hangs on to win San Carlos Stakes

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Benoit & Associates
Danzing Candy and jockey Mike Smith win the San Carlos Stakes by a neck over Ransom the Moon.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Danzing Candy overcame a double team from runners trained by Phil D’Amato to win his second consecutive stakes, and his first in a sprint, in Saturday’s Grade 2 San Carlos Stakes at Santa Anita.

The first challenge came from Coastline, who fought with Danzing Candy through fractions of 22.15 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 44.26 for a half-mile. As the D’Amato-trained Coastline faded in early stretch, Ransom the Moon rallied three wide to get within a half-length of Danzing Candy in the final furlong.

Ransom the Moon was a threat to the wire but could not catch Danzing Candy, who prevailed by a neck, finishing seven furlongs in 1:21.17. Danzing Candy ($2.60) won his third stakes in the $250,000 San Carlos Stakes.

Winning rider Mike Smith expected a pressured scenario.

“I thought we’d play it off the break,” Smith said. “If they make him run fast, he can run fast. They pressured him, and he had to run today, and he held them off.”

Ransom the Moon, the winner of the Grade 2 Kona Gold Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs on May 20, finished 6 1/2 lengths clear of Kobe’s Back, who won the 2016 San Carlos when the race was run in March.

Coastline finished fourth, ahead of the Dubai shipper Cool Cowboy.

Danzing Candy is unbeaten in three starts for owners Ted Aroney and Jim and Dianne Bashor and trainer Bob Baffert. Danzing Candy, 4, won an optional claimer at a mile May 5 and the Grade 3 Lone Star Park Handicap in Texas on May 28.

Last year, Danzing Candy won the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes and was 15th in the Kentucky Derby when trained by Clifford Sise Jr. Danzing Candy joined Baffert’s stable after the Kentucky Derby but had only one start with him last year – a second in the Grade 3 Affirmed Stakes at 1 1/16 miles last July.

Baffert said Danzing Candy will be considered for the Grade 2 Pat O’Brien Stakes at seven furlongs at Del Mar on Aug. 26, a race that offers a fees-paid berth to the winner for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Del Mar on Nov. 3.