09/19/2012 2:22PM

Fairplex: Baffert in position to sweep both divisions of Bangles and Beads

Benoit & Associates
Candrea's last win came at Fairplex in the 2011 Phil D. Shepherd Stakes.

POMONA, Calif. – Bob Baffert will try to knock down two divisions of the Bangles and Beads Stakes on Friday at Fairplex Park, where Candrea and American Lady are favored in respective halves of the filly-and-mare sprint stakes.

Candrea faces Ninth Infantry in race 8; American Lady meets True Way of Grace in race 10. While neither Baffert trainee is a standout, their attributes are enough for a $50,000 stakes such as the 6 1/2-furlong Bangles and Beads.

Martin Pedroza rides Candrea, the 5-2 favorite seeking to end a six-race losing streak that has lasted one year.

“She’s doing well, and there’s nowhere else to run her,” Baffert said. “She won a stake there last year.”

Candrea was among Baffert’s top 2-year-old fillies one year ago; a Fairplex victory in the Phil D. Shepherd Stakes led to a runner-up finish in the Grade 1 Oak Leaf Stakes at Santa Anita. Candrea, however, was unable to maintain form thereafter and was unplaced in three subsequent graded stakes, including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

A runner-up finish by Candrea two starts back in an allowance at Betfair Hollywood Park makes her a logical contender Friday, with a weight break over her main rival. A 3-year-old, Candrea is scheduled to carry 112 pounds, but Pedroza rides at 114.

If she delivers one of her top Beyer Figures in the mid-80s, Candrea can win. Or she may have her hands full with Ninth Infantry, a good allowance filly on turf and synthetic. The stakes on Friday will be the first start on dirt for Ninth Infantry.

“That’s the big question mark,” trainer David Bernstein admitted. “And, she’s never been [at Fairplex]. But she trains well on dirt.”

Bernstein planned a get-familiar Fairplex blowout for Ninth Infantry on Thursday over the five-eighth-mile track. A 5-year-old with 7 wins from 18 starts, Ninth Infantry carries 121 pounds, including David Flores. She typically earns Beyer Figures in the high 80s. If she reproduces her turf numbers on dirt, she can win.

Other main contenders in the first division include Great Hot and All On the Table.

Baffert-trained American Lady is favored in the later division, her first start since July 14.

“I was going to run her at Del Mar, but she didn’t handle that track,” Baffert said. “I’m trying to get a little stakes win with her. The Bangles and Beads would look good on her r é sum é .”

American Lady has won 3 of 7, although her best speed figures were earned way back in spring 2011. The 4-year-old filly’s modest form since includes a restricted stakes win in June at Hollywood.

Martin Garcia rides American Lady, whose main rivals include Gem of Soul and Fairplex horse for course True Way of Grace.

True Way of Grace won the Barretts Debutante in 2010, and in 2011 at Fairplex finished second in the Beverly Lewis. Alexis Barba trains True Way of Grace, who will be ridden by Aaron Gryder.