07/29/2011 2:45PM

Saratoga: Sidney's Candy may be long gone in Fourstardave

Tom Keyser
Sidney’s Candy has not started since finishing second by a nose, after setting the pace in the Grade 2 American Handicap over the Hollywood Park turf course on May 28.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Sidney’s Candy’s six rivals in the $150,000 Fourstardave may want to get a good look at him entering the starting gate, because that’s likely as close as they’ll get to the speedy Grade 1 winner until they pull up at the end of the Grade 2 turf fixture Sunday at Saratoga.

The defection of starting highweight Get Stormy from the 1 1/16-mile Fourstardave because of a minor tendon injury before the race was drawn on Friday has not only left Sidney’s Candy as the odds-on favorite and horse to beat but also the lone speed in the race. That luxury that figures to make Sidney’s Candy, the versatile winner of the 2010 Santa Anita Derby, even that much tougher to beat.

“Obviously the pace scenario is very different than what we thought when we entered for the race,” said trainer Todd Pletcher, who received Sidney’s Candy after he was purchased privately earlier this spring. “We’re the most likely pacesetter. He’s a free-running horse, and we’re just going to stay out of his way and let him do his thing.”

Sidney’s Candy has not started since finishing second, beaten a nose, after setting the pace in the Grade 2 American Handicap over the Hollywood Park turf course on May 28. He was also second over the main track at Hollywood three weeks earlier making his 2011 debut in the Mervin LeRoy Handicap.

Pletcher had originally been looking at next Saturday’s Grade 1 Whitney as a possible option for Sidney’s Candy’s local debut but opted for the shorter distance and easier competition of the Fourstardave after watching his horse work five furlongs in 57.60 seconds over the Oklahoma turf course on Sunday.

“The distance of a mile and one sixteenth was attractive,” said Pletcher. “I’m not usually an advocate of 57-and-change works, but if I have one, this was the right kind. He started off smoothly and sprinted home.”

John Velazquez, who was aboard Sidney’s Candy for the work, will ride him for the first time in the afternoon on Sunday.

Sidney’s Candy will carry high weight of 120 pounds in the Fourstardave, conceding from two to six pounds to the competiton that includes his uncoupled stablemate Blues Street. The remainder of the field consists of Beau Choix, Turallure, Paris Vegas, Moryba, and Voodoo Swinge.

Moryba and Voodoo Swinge have been cross-entered in Sunday’s Grade 3 Oceanport Stakes at Monmouth Park.

Blues Street was a two-time graded stakes winner a year ago but has started just twice this season, finishing second, beaten a nose by Little Mike, in the Grade 3 Ft. Lauderdale at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 9 before returning five months later to defeat third-level optional claiming horses at Belmont on June 16.

“Blues Street is the kind of horse who needs to run his own style, to settle and make one run,” said Pletcher, “so while the pace scenario will be good for Sidney’s Candy it works against him. I thought he ran well in his last start, and he acts like he’s in as good form right now as he’s ever been.”

Beau Choix is also coming off a victory at Belmont in the Rob N Gin overnight Stakes when rallying to post a game nose decision under jockey Ramon Dominguez on July 7 for trainer Barclay Tagg.

“I’m not real keen about running him in this spot, and if it gets too hot I’ll scratch him, because he doesn’t seem to handle the heat well,” said Tagg. “With Get Stormy out, the pace will not be to our advantage but at least it allowed us to get Ramon back on him.”