09/07/2012 7:19PM

Fairplex Park: Candy and Thunder takes opening-day Lewis over dull track


POMONA, Calif. – Upsets were the theme on Friday at Fairplex Park, where the 13-day Los Angeles County Fair meet began with a $16.20 surprise by Candy and Thunder in the $49,000 Beverly Lewis Stakes.

Racing over a dirt track that produced slow times, Candy and Thunder gave jockey Juan Hernandez and trainer Leandro Mora their first stakes wins at Fairplex, and iced a pick-six carryover into Saturday of $18,115.

Candy and Thunder won by three-quarters of a length over 9-10 favorite My Selection, a front-runner compromised by the speed of the track.

“The track is a little on the slow side,” jockey Martin Pedroza said. “Six and a half furlongs is like seven furlongs.”

The 1:18.96 winning time by Candy and Thunder was the slowest in four renewals of the Lewis, for 3-year-old fillies. The runner-up My Selection finished a head in front of third-place finisher Tornado Allie.

Candy and Thunder, winner of a starter allowance Aug. 18 at Del Mar, was winning her third race from 17 starts. It was her first official start for Mora, who took over the Doug O’Neill stable while O’Neill serves a suspension.

“The way she ran on dirt at Santa Anita [a maiden-claiming win in February], we took a chance,” Mora said. “And, she was so brave rallying between horses at Del Mar. She’s become a pro, a gutsy pro.”

The Fairplex pick six on Saturday begins in race 6; the shortest price in the sequence is Going for a Spin. She is the 7-5 favorite in race 10, the $50,000 E.B. Johnston Stakes.