03/01/2012 4:11PM

Santa Anita: Sadler considers maiden Holy Candy a Triple Crown prospect

Shigeki Kikkawa
Holy Candy could jump into a stakes such as the Spiral at Turfway Park or the Illinois Derby at Hawthorne if he wins his maiden impressively Saturday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Holy Candy is still a maiden – and still very much on the Triple Crown trail from the perspective of trainer John Sadler.

In Saturday’s second race at Santa Anita, Holy Candy will be heavily favored to win a maiden race over 1 1/16 miles, which could lead to a major stakes appearance in late March or early April. Judging from the competition he has faced, Holy Candy will be difficult to oppose on Saturday.

In his first two starts, Holy Candy has been second to Empire Way at Hollywood Park on Nov. 13 and to Castaway here on Jan. 21. Empire Way was second in the Robert Lewis Stakes on Feb. 4; Castaway won a division of the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Feb. 20.

“We’ve got to get the candy,” Sadler wise-cracked on Thursday. “He looks to be 4-5 in that race. He’s got to do it, and he hasn’t done it yet.”

Sadler said races such as the $500,000 Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park on March 24, the $500,000 Illinois Derby at Hawthorne and $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 7, and the $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 14 are possible for Holy Candy.

“We can take a shot in a big race,” Sadler said. “He’ll be nominated to all of them.”

Holy Candy, by Candy Ride, is owned by breeder Jenny Craig and Donkey Island Racing. The colt is part of a field of seven in Saturday’s second race. Trainer Bob Baffert has a contender in Stirred Up, a colt by Lemon Drop Kid, who has been second and third in his first two starts.