02/08/2014 9:13PM

Santa Anita: Candy Boy impressive taking Robert Lewis Stakes

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Benoit & Associates
Jockey Gary Stevens said Candy Boy outperformed expectations with how well he ran in the Robert Lewis.

ARCADIA, Calif. – It took Candy Boy four starts to finally beat maidens, but he has gotten the hang of things rather quickly since. He subsequently finished second in the CashCall Futurity to Eclipse Award winner Shared Belief, and on Saturday at Santa Anita continued his progress as one of the nation’s top 3-year-olds by capturing the Grade 2, $200,500 Robert Lewis Stakes.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

Candy Boy ($6.60) just did get up late to beat Chitu, but he was just getting started when the 1 1/16-mile race finished. Candy Boy continued to gallop out strongly, indicative of a colt who will welcome additional distance.

“When I pulled him up, I checked all the gauges, and they were all full,” said his jockey, Gary Stevens.

The Lewis was worth 10 points for first (with 4 for second, 2 for third, and 1 for fourth) under the system used by Churchill Downs to determine the field for the May 3 Kentucky Derby should more than the maximum 20 horses enter.

Candy Boy, who started from the rail, got a perfect trip under Stevens. He sat fourth early in the seven-horse field as Diamond Bachelor, hounded by Chitu, went to the lead and set solid fractions of 23.33 seconds for the opening quarter, 46.80 for a half-mile, and 1:10.84 for six furlongs.

Midnight Hawk loomed up three paths wide on the far turn, while Stevens patiently sat inside with Candy Boy. Stevens wheeled him out to the middle of the track for the stretch run, and Candy Boy closed stoutly to complete 1 1/16 miles on the fast main track in 1:41.83. He beat Chitu by a half-length, with Midnight Hawk another 1 1/4 lengths back in third. Both Chitu and Midnight Hawk are trained by Bob Baffert.

Diamond Bachelor was fourth and was followed, in order, by Home Run Kitten, Cool Samurai, and El Nino Terrible.

“He’s my number one draft choice,” Stevens said. “That was a nice performance he put on against a nice group of horses. I expected him to run well, but he surpassed my expectations.”

Candy Boy, a colt by Candy Ride, is trained by John Sadler and was bred and is owned by the C R K Stable of Lee and Susan Searing. He is out of the In Excess mare She’s an Eleven.

“Gary gave him a perfect trip,” Sadler said.

Stevens also was instrumental one week earlier in Candy Boy’s final work, when a horse broke down in front of him just as Candy Boy was coming to the wire. He just did dodge catastrophe while traveling six furlongs in 1:13.

Midnight Hawk had won both his prior starts, including the Sham Stakes last month. He was a bit rank going into the first turn when behind horses, but “had no excuse,” said his jockey, Mike Smith.

 

Ray Lanfear 12 months ago
Candy Boy even with his post will get a chunk of the money. I remember Gary with Thunder Gulch in a similar post position.
ROBERT More than 1 year ago
Trip was good, not fantastic. Your right the best horse won.
Robert Barnes More than 1 year ago
HI AND THANK YOU BUT THE BEST IS YET TO COME WE ALL WANT TO SEE THE NEXT HORSE TO WIN ALL THREE RACE'S THE KENTUCKY DERBY THE PREAKNESS STATE THE BELMONT STATE IN 3 TO 6 YEARL AWAY AND I MY COME OUT OR RETIREMENT ??? LIKE MY JOCKEY GARY STEVENS OK WATCH HEM ON CANDYBOY I LOOKING TO STAR MY NEXT JOB WIFT Mr.Robert & B. Lewis post by ROBERT2CAB53@FACEBOOK.COM
Wesley Wright More than 1 year ago
Another great ride by GS. Gary wanted Candy the most. Compare this ride to the one WTC got in the Donn!
Katherine Stroh More than 1 year ago
This colt is making giant strides each start, what's not to like about his future. Gary is riding better and better, like fine wine . Still miss ramon
Nicholas Briglia More than 1 year ago
If by impressive you mean "perfect trip winner" than I guess you are right.
jaybern1 More than 1 year ago
So now if a horse gets a good trip he must not be good. What nonsense.
James Mcrae More than 1 year ago
im convinced, that was a sweet performance,guess the hawk got his feathers ruffled a bit,whats up kenny
fuggedabodit More than 1 year ago
I'm Impressed the way he ran through the stretch, and the gallop out was fantastic.
prlyr4lyf More than 1 year ago
The best horse won the race...case closed.
CMathieu66 More than 1 year ago
By the way, Baffert's next big 3YO runs Thursday in a mile NW1. And it's not Tap It Rich. Bayern ran a powerful 7F's first out and takes the blinks off, which an equipment change is generally worrisome off a win but I believe less is more and Stevens likely told BB that Bayern would've responded earlier if he had seen the competition, which, considering he came home in 12 and 1, is intriguing and possibly scary. I usually don't quibble with the DRF's family tree's but they overlooked a branch of Tap It Rich's lineage as his behavior is a straight derivative from Labeeb.
Steve Brabant More than 1 year ago
are those $2 exacta will pays horribly low or is the spreadsheet messed up? or maybe I am.