10/14/2011 4:22PM

Santa Anita: Twirling Candy pointing to Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile

Benoit & Associates
Twirling Candy is targeting the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Churchill Downs.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Twirling Candy will be pointed to the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5, with only a “10 percent” chance that he will start in the BC Classic the same day, trainer John Sadler said.

“We think that’s the best spot for him right now,” Sadler said of the Dirt Mile.

Owned by the partnership of breeder Jenny Craig, Marty Wygod, and William Farish, Twirling Candy will start in the Breeders’ Cup following a break of more than two months. A 4-year-old colt, Twirling Candy finished second by a head to Acclamation in the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Aug. 28.

“He barely got beat,” Sadler said.

The winner of the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes over seven furlongs at Santa Anita last December, Twirling Candy has won two stakes over 1 1/8 miles this year – the Grade 2 Strub Stakes for 4-year-olds at Santa Anita in February and the Grade 2 Californian Stakes at Hollywood Park in June.

Twirling Candy is winless in three starts over the BC Classic distance of 1 1/4 miles – a troubled fifth in the Santa Anita Handicap in March and a third, by a neck, in the Hollywood Gold Cup in July before the Pacific Classic.

Twirling Candy has had three workouts since returning to serious training in September, including five furlongs in 59.80 seconds on Oct. 9.

“He was really nice last week,” Sadler said of the workout. He timed Twirling Candy through a final quarter-mile in 22.80 during that workout.

Self Preservation eyeing pair of BC races

Self Preservation, runner-up in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante in September but fifth in the Grade 1 Oak Leaf Stakes on Oct. 2, will start in either the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies or Juvenile Fillies Turf on Nov. 4, trainer Ben Cecil said.

Cecil said that Self Preservation will be pre-entered in both races, with a decision on a race pending a conversation with owner Paul Reddam. Cecil said that England-based jockey Frankie Dettori will ride Self Preservation.

In the Oak Leaf, Self Preservation finished 9 1/2 lengths behind race winner Weemissfrankie after leading to the turn under jockey Patrick Valenzuela.

“She was probably a bit aggressive,” Cecil said.

Mensa Heat points to California Cup Sprint

Mensa Heat’s runner-up finish in the Grade 1 Ancient Title Stakes on Oct. 8 will not lead to a start in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint on Nov. 5. Instead, the former claimer is being pointed to the $100,000 California Cup Sprint on Oct. 29, where he figures to be a strong favorite.

Owner Peter Redekop would have to pay a six-figure supplement, in addition to entry and starter fees, to make Mensa Heat eligible for the Breeders’ Cup, trainer Ted H. West said.

“We can keep him here and we don’t have to ship,” West said. “He came out of the [Ancient Title] better than he ever has in the races he’s run for us. We’ll be tough in the Cal Cup.”

Claimed for $25,000 in April, Mensa Heat, a 5-year-old gelding, has since earned $206,122, winning four of six starts.

Bench Points done for the season

Bench Points, a graded stakes winner at Hollywood Park in May, has been turned out for the fall and will return to racing in early 2012, trainer Tim Yakteen said.

Bench Points was sent to a farm following a third in the Real Good Deal Stakes at Del Mar in August. Owned by a partnership, Bench Points has won 5 of 9 starts and $290,280, including the Grade 3 Laz Barrera Memorial Stakes for 3-year-olds earlier this year.

Yakteen said Bench Points will be pointed to statebred stakes in 2012.

“He deserves a break, and I think now is a good time so we can have him ready for the spring and summer,” Yakteen said.