07/19/2013 2:01PM

Del Mar: Holy Candy returns after year's absence


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Expectations were high for Holy Candy when he came into last year’s meet at Del Mar, but he never even finished his first race on opening day. Holy Candy, the even-money favorite in a division of the Oceanside Stakes, was pulled up, and was found to have a chip in his right front ankle. It required surgery, and sent him to the sidelines.

Now age 4, Holy Candy makes his return 368 days later, in Sunday’s third race, going 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack. Even though Holy Candy was good enough last year to finish third in the Affirmed Handicap, and fourth in the Blue Grass Stakes, his lone win came against maidens, so he still has all his allowance conditions.

[DEL MAR 2013: Complete meet coverage, schedule, race replays]

“He had a pretty nasty chip. It was never anything life-threatening, but he needed a lot of time,” said John Sadler, who trains Holy Candy. “He did all his rehab just down the road from here at Rancho Paseana. He’s been training well.”

Rancho Paseana is owned by Jenny Craig, who owns Holy Candy in partnership with the Donkey Island Racing syndicate, whose members include Drew Brees, quarterback for the New Orleans Saints.

Public handicapper Ike sweeps card

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Bob Ike, a public handicapper whose selections appear in the U-T San Diego and the Los Angeles Daily News, had the winners of all eight races on top on Thursday, the second time he has swept a card in a little more than three years.

Ike also had a perfect day on May 22, 2010 at Hollywood Park, winning all nine races run that day.

Ike, 50, is a native of nearby Vista, Calif., who has been making selections full-time for Southern California papers since 1985, the year he graduated from Occidental College, where he had a celebrated basketball career that landed him in the school’s Hall of Fame.

In addition to his handicapping duties, Ike is co-founder of the racing partnership Summit Racing, and co-hosts the “Thoroughbred Los Angeles” radio show from 9-10 Pacific Saturday mornings on AM830 KLAA.