12/27/2011 11:43AM

Gulfstream Park: Capt. Candyman Can returning in Mr. Prospector

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Barbara D. Livingston
Off since June, Capt. Candyman Can is ready for his latest comeback in the Mr. Prospector on Saturday.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Capt. Candyman Can has had some bumps along the way, but the Grade 1 winner is ready to resume his career once more in Saturday’s Grade 3 Mr. Prospector.

Trainer Ian Wilkes had to stop on Capt. Candyman Can for nearly 15 months following his eighth-place finish in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Sprint and again this spring after his third-place finish in the Grade 3 Aristides at Churchill Downs. But after working five furlongs in 1:02 at Palm Meadows on Tuesday, Capt. Candyman Can looks like a go for the six-furlong Mr. Prospector, Wilkes said.

“He went okay this morning,” Wilkes said. “He’s not the greatest work horse in the world, never has been, but if he comes out of it okay he’ll be a starter on Saturday.”

Capt. Candyman Can won the Grade 1 King’s Bishop at Saratoga during the summer of 2009 via the disqualification of Vineyard Haven. He finished second, beaten a rapidly diminishing head by Fatal Bullet, over the Polytrack at Keeneland in the Grade 3 Phoenix in his final prep for the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, but never factored in the big event and came out of the race with chips in his knee.

Capt. Candyman Can, a son of Candy Ride, was fit enough off the long layoff to win the seven-furlong Super Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs when launching his comeback in February, then followed that effort here with a neck decision over Regal Ransom in the Sir Shackleton overnight stakes. He was beaten a half-length five weeks later in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs before hitting the bench once again after another good effort in the Aristides on June 4.

“He came back lame after that last race at Churchill Downs,” said Wilkes. “We never really found any big issue. It was just a couple of little niggling things that needed some time. He’s an old horse who knows what he’s doing and he likes this track, but he could possibly need a race on Saturday.

Wilkes said he is hoping to run Capt. Candyman Can back in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship, a seven-furlong race on Feb. 18.

Wilkes also had some good and some bad news regarding his top two 3-year-old prospects for 2012, Motor City and Timely Tally. Motor City ended his juvenile campaign with a victory in the Iroquois, while Timely Tally concluded his season with a third-place finish in the Kentucky Jockey Club.

“Motor City got a break after the Iroquois and he’s just come back into training,” said Wilkes. “I haven’t planned on anything for him yet, but he should be ready sometime around the end of February. Timely Tally, on the other hand, will be done for a while. He has a tendon issue. It’s not career-threatening, but I’m trying to work out now how much time I’ll have to give him.”