01/14/2011 2:47PM

Defection of Sidney's Candy leaves San Fernando wide open


ARCADIA, Calif. - The defection of Sidney’s Candy from Saturday’s $150,000 San Fernando Stakes at Santa Anita leaves the race without a clear favorite.

Sidney’s Candy was withdrawn from the San Fernando on Friday after trainer John Sadler said the horse was “off behind,” with the foremost concern being the condition of the 4-year-old’s right hind leg. Sidney’s Candy was scheduled to undergo a nuclear scan test on Monday, but Sadler hoped that the colt could be ready for the Strub Stakes on Feb. 5.

Without Sidney’s Candy, the San Fernando field has a field of eight, including five stakes winners.

The absence of Sidney’s Candy will affect the pace and greatly alter the betting. Sidney’s Candy was expected to be in front, a role that may go to Tweebster, Thiskyhasnolimit or Indian Firewater. Thiskyhasnolimit may go favored, though he will be a very lukewarm choice.

Tweebster, trained by Bob Baffert, will make his stakes debut in the San Fernando, his 11th career start. Owned by Kaleem Shah, Tweebster won three consecutive races at Hollywood Park in the fall – a maiden race on turf and two optional claimers on the main track.

“He’s really changed,” Baffert said. “He went through a time when he was really light. He’s started to fill out and he’s got his confidence up.”

Tweebster, who will be ridden by leading jockey Rafael Bejarano, drew the rail, and is one of three horses in the field yet to win a stakes. The other two – Do It All and Victory With Honor – are trained by Eoin Harty.

Victory With Honor has won his last two starts, a maiden race and an optional claimer at Hollywood Park in the fall.

Do It All won an allowance race at Golden Gate Fields on Dec. 11. He finished second, but was promoted to first when a rival was disqualified for a bumping incident in late stretch. Despite the inexperience of Victory With Honor and Do It All, Harty said the San Fernando is worth a try.

“They’re both 4-year-olds and it’s a good opportunity to find out what we’ve got,” he said. “They’re two-turn horses and we need to take a shot every now and then.”

Thiskyhasnolimit won two stakes last year, and Haimish Hy upset the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby on turf on Nov. 28. Trained by Art Sherman, Haimish Hy won the El Cajon Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on the synthetic track at Del Mar in September.

Thiskyhasnolimit and Haimish Hy race from off the pace, a style that could be compromised on the Santa Anita main track, which has been dominated by front-runners or horses racing near the pace since the meeting began on Dec. 26.

Thiskyhasnolimit was sixth in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes over seven furlongs on Dec. 26, and has lost his last three starts. He was second to top 2010 3-year-old Lookin At Lucky in the Indiana Derby over 1 1/16 miles at Hoosier Park on Oct. 2 and seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Churchill Downs in November.

Last year, Thiskynasnolimit won the Matt Win Stakes over seven furlongs at Churchill Downs and the Smarty Jones Stakes over a mile and 70 yards at Parx Racing at Philadelphia Park on Sept. 6.

The San Fernando is the feature race on a nine-race program that features two other stakes – the $100,000 Sham Stakes, a Grade 3 for 3-year-olds over 1 1/16 miles, and the $150,000 Santa Ynez Stakes, a Grade 2 for 3-year-old fillies over seven furlongs.