02/15/2010 1:00AM

Expect more of Sidney's Candy


ARCADIA, Calif. - There weren't many 2-year-olds last summer at Del Mar who were more impressive than Sidney's Candy, so expectations were high when he returned to action following a four-month layoff earlier this meet at Santa Anita. But Sidney's Candy, favored at 3-5 in a first-level allowance race on Dec. 30, broke poorly, ran flat, and finished fourth, beating just one horse.

His trainer, John Sadler, still believes in Sidney's Candy. On Monday, Sidney's Candy will be afforded a chance to get back in the Kentucky Derby dialogue when he makes his stakes debut in the Grade 2, $150,000 San Vicente Stakes, a seven-furlong race that heads up a 10-race holiday card at Santa Anita.

Sidney's Candy lost his debut at Del Mar by a head, then improved significantly in his second start Aug. 22, romping to a four-length victory going 5 1/2 furlongs while earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 99. When he came back on Dec. 30, though, he never fired.

"He kind of caught us off guard that he ran so flat," Sadler said. "I think he'll bounce back. He's a free-running horse, and he didn't break, so that took him out of his game. He'll have more of a free-running style on Monday. He was a little heavy for that race, too. He's ready to go now. The timing from that race to this has been good."

Sidney's Candy drew post 3 in the seven-horse field.

His biggest threat is Tiny Woods, who beat Sidney's Candy last summer at Del Mar, and again in the Dec. 30 allowance race. Martin Garcia rode Tiny Woods last time, but he wound up on another Bob Baffert trainee, Quiet Invader, so Victor Espinoza takes over.

Quiet Invader was a sharp winner sprinting in his second start at Hollywood Park on Dec. 19, but failed to handle two turns when finishing fourth in a first-level going one mile on Jan. 6. The turn back in distance should suit him.

Raging Wit is an intriguing longshot. He won his lone start on a synthetic surface, in his debut last fall at Turfway Park. He is winless in three starts since, on turf and dirt. He was caught wide from a poor post in a one-mile grass race at Gulfstream last time out with Kent Desormeaux, who will be at Santa Anita on Monday to retain the mount.