05/18/2010 11:00PM

First a win, then the Gold Cup


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - One was good enough to run in the 2009 Kentucky Derby. Another beat the 2009 Kentucky Derby winner in a rich prep race. Yet another teamed with the undefeated two-time champion Zenyatta in a recent workout.

Chocolate Candy, Kelly Leak and Aitcho have achieved success at various levels in their careers. What they need in Friday's seventh race at Hollywood Park, an optional claimer over 1 1/16 miles, is a win, which could lead to a start in the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 10.

Chocolate Candy is winless in seven starts since the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields in February 2009, a span that includes a fifth in the 2009 Kentucky Derby and a fifth at Churchill Downs in the Grade 3 Alysheba Stakes on a dirt track on April 30, his only start this year.

Chocolate Candy must win on Friday or could have a career change.

"We'll probably put him on turf if he doesn't win this race," said Dan Ward, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer's assistant. "I'm not sold on his natural dirt form. If he runs a good race, he can go in the Gold Cup. If not, we'll have to go to plan B."

Kelly Leak beat eventual Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird in the Sunland Park Derby in 2009, but is winless in five subsequent starts. Kelly Leak was seventh in the Grade 2 San Francisco Mile on turf at Golden Gate Fields on April 24.

Kelly Leak has drawn the outside post in a field of five on Friday. Trainer Mike Machowsky is adding blinkers to his equipment. "I'm putting little cheaters on him," Machowsky said. "I want him to be a little more aggressive. I don't want him to be a speed horse, just a little more forward."

Aitcho was sixth in the Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap on turf at Santa Anita on April 3. Trained by John Shirreffs, Aitcho has yet to win a stakes, but did win a one-mile allowance race on turf at Santa Anita earlier this year. Monday, Aitcho worked in company with Zenyatta, going six furlongs in 1:13.60. He started in front, but was caught by the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic winner in the final furlong.

"He worked very nicely," Shirreffs said. "When he's good, he's very good."

The other entrants are Aggie Engineer, second in an allowance race at Santa Anita on March 12 for trainer Paddy Gallagher, and One Track Mind, who was fourth in the Tiznow Stakes for statebreds here on April 24. One Track Mind, trained by David Bernstein, is expected to set the pace, and has won over 1 1/16 miles this year.

Zenyatta, meanwhile, had her first exercise on Wednesday since her Monday work, galloping on the backstretch training track. She is being pointed for the $250,000 Vanity Handicap on June 13.