04/30/2016 12:31PM

Danzing Candy works for Derby; Kobe's Back drills for Churchill Downs

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Barbara D. Livingston
Danzing Candy wins the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes in March.

Going a little quicker than expected, Danzing Candy worked five furlongs in 59.80 seconds at the San Luis Rey Downs training Center in Bonsall, Calif., on Saturday, the colt’s final major exercise before the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 7.

Trainer Clifford Sise said he expected a workout time closer to 1:01, but Danzing Candy showed enthusiasm. Danzing Candy galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.60, Sise said.

“He’s as good as he can be,” Sise said. “He’s probably doing better than he’s ever done.”

Danzing Candy will need a career-best performance to be a factor in the Kentucky Derby. The colt has ample speed and is expected to be part of the pace. Mike Smith has the mount.

By Twirling Candy, Danzing Candy won the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita on March 12 in his stakes debut but was fourth behind Kentucky Derby contender Exaggerator on a sealed and sloppy track in the Santa Anita Derby on April 9.

Danzing Candy has won 3 of 5 starts and earned $358,650 for Ted Aroney and Jim and Dianne Bashor. Sise said Danzing Candy is scheduled to be flown to Churchill Downs early Monday and will have a light schedule of exercise leading up to the Kentucky Derby.

“He won’t do a whole lot back there,” he said. “He’s as fit as a fiddle.”

At Santa Anita, Kobe’s Back, the top sprinter in California this year, worked five furlongs in 58.20 seconds in advance of the $500,000 Churchill Downs Stakes on May 7.

Trainer Peter Eurton timed Kobe’s Back in 59 seconds. “He did it looking pretty comfy,” Eurton said.

The workout was the fastest of 72 recorded works at the distance.

Owned by Lee and Susan Searing, Kobe’s Back has won two Grade 2 stakes this year – the Palos Verdes Stakes at six furlongs on Feb. 7 and the San Carlos Stakes at seven furlongs on March 12.

Kobe’s Back figures to be a leading contender for the Churchill Downs Stakes, which is run at seven furlongs.