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Santa Anita Derby: Holy Candy's status will be a raceday decision
ARCADIA, Calif. – Holy Candy is in Saturday’s $750,000 Santa Anita Derby – for now.
Trainer John Sadler entered Holy Candy on Wednesday, but said a decision on whether the impressive maiden race winner will start will not be made until raceday. The other option is to wait for the $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 14.
Owned by Jenny Craig and the Donkey Island Racing Stable partnership, Holy Candy beat maidens by 3 1/2 lengths in a race over a mile on March 23. The colt has not started in a stakes, which could be a problem in the Blue Grass Stakes. If the Blue Grass oversubscribes or draws more than 14 entries, a lesser accomplished horse such as Holy Candy may not gain a place in the field.
“My gut tells me to wait another week,” Sadler said. “If I go to Keeneland, do I get in?”
For the Santa Anita Derby, Holy Candy drew post 3 in a field of 10.
Jockey Alonso Quinonez has been named to ride. Joel Rosario rode Holy Candy on March 23, the colt’s fourth start, but is booked to ride Creative Cause, the 6-5 morning-line favorite, in the Santa Anita Derby.
Holy Candy worked five furlongs in 1:01 on Monday and was back on the track Wednesday.
“Physically, he’s good,” Sadler said. “I had him back on the track, and he looked great.”
Recent Santa Anita Derby history is in Holy Candy’s favor. In 2011, Midnight Interlude, who had only a late March maiden win to his credit, pulled a 13-1 upset.
Longview Drive drills with Baze up
Longview Drive, entered for the Santa Anita Derby, worked a half-mile in 49.20 seconds at Hollywood Park on Wednesday.
Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Longview Drive will make his Grade 1 debut in the Santa Anita Derby. Owned by Steve Beneto, Longview Drive has won 3 of 7 starts and $200,834.
By Pulpit, Longview Drive was sixth in a division of the Southwest Stakes in his last start at Oaklawn Park in February.
Jockey Russell Baze rode Longview Drive to stakes wins at Santa Rosa and Fresno last year and traveled to Hollywood Park for Wednesday’s workout. Baze has not ridden Longview Drive in his last three races.
“Russell has ridden him before, but we thought it would better to let him get on him,” Hollendorfer said.
Longview Drive has drawn post 5 for the Santa Anita Derby and would move one position to the inside if Holy Candy is scratched.
“That’s a pretty good draw,” Hollendorfer said.
The Hall of Fame trainer is seeking his first Santa Anita Derby win. His best finish with five previous starters is Chocolate Candy, the runner-up in 2009.
Amazombie on the fence for Potrero Grande
Amazombie’s status for Saturday’s $150,000 Potrero Grande Stakes for sprinters was unclear as of Wednesday.
The champion sprinter of 2011, Amazombie was entered in the Potrero Grande, but trainer Bill Spawr said he would study the race before deciding whether to start. The other option is to wait for the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap over six furlongs at Oaklawn Park on April 14.
Spawr said he is hoping that the Potrero Grande, which is run over 6 1/2 furlongs, draws sufficient speed to help a closer such as Amazombie. The race drew nine runners, including the Spawr-trained Thunder of Zion and Roman Threat, who have shown ample speed.
Spawr said he would start Amazombie “if I feel I can win it.”
Third in the Grade 2 San Carlos Stakes over seven furlongs in February, his only start this year, Amazombie is best known for winning the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs last November.
If he stays at Santa Anita for Saturday’s Potrero Grande, Amazombie will have a busy April in Southern California. Spawr said the $125,000 Tiznow Stakes for California-breds over 7 1/2 furlongs at Hollywood Park on April 28 would be Amazombie’s next start.
Winner appointed to CHRB seat
Charles Winner, the owner of a public relations and campaign consulting firm in Beverly Hills and a horse owner for 25 years, has been appointed to the California Horse Racing Board.
Winner, 71, was part of a group of political appointees announced earlier this week by California Gov. Jerry Brown.
He joins a racing board that has been depleted in recent months by the loss of John Harris and Jerry Moss because of term limits.
Winner has owned such runners as the stakes winners Domestic Dispute, Fine n’ Majestic, I Want Revenge, Liberian Freighter, The Pamplemousse, and Walkslikeaduck, often in partnerships.
Winner must be confirmed by the California Senate, but can serve on the board until the confirmation hearing takes place. His term expires in July 2015.
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