Updated on 09/17/2011 1:23PM

Que Candy won't get easy lead


STICKNEY, Ill. - If Que Candy can run as fast around one turn at Hawthorne as he did around two at Fair Grounds, he should emerge victorious from Tuesday's featured sixth race here.

If - that treasured word among horseplayers. If I had done this differently. If this horse had run a little faster. If the jockey had just gone outside. And so on.

In fact, there is no real way to know how Que Candy will make the transition. But he had an excellent late winter in New Orleans: Que Candy came into the barn of trainer Al Sider in January and quickly won a one-mile race, a second-level allowance with a $40,000 claiming option. Three weeks later he lost on grass, but Que Candy was back March 20 in another optional claimer - this time, not eligible to be claimed - and he won again, running a mile in a swift 1:36.80.

Que Candy clearly has a strong galloping pace, and he can sustain it over a distance of ground. But that does not make him a pure sprinter, and at 6 1/2 furlongs, Tuesday's race probably is on the short side. Last summer at Arlington, Que Candy won a seven-furlong sprint by a length, but beat only five rivals, and got loose on the lead with a slowish opening quarter-mile.

Tuesday, if he goes for the lead, Que Candy will look right into the eye of Red River Aggie, who has drawn the rail, one position inside Que Candy. Basically, Red River Aggie is all speed, but at his best last season, Red River Aggie proved difficult to pass, even after setting a fast pace. He was not at his best in a comeback race here March 22, but was beaten less than three lengths after setting a sizzling pace, and might out-quick Que Candy to the front.

These are the two pace elements: The closers are more obscure. Big Bold Sweep might be prepping for a route race this out, his first start since Dec. 18, but he has one sweeping run that might be effective if the pace becomes overheated. True Genius finished just in front of Red River Aggie in their common last start, and he, too, should benefit from the race. But True Genius never has won at Hawthorne, and it seems possible that he will regress Tuesday if his last race was too taxing.

That, too, is one of those inscrutable "ifs."