09/01/2011 3:01PM

Saratoga: Sidney's Candy will have to use speed sparingly

Tom Keyser
Sidney's Candy, with John Velazquez riding, wins the Fourstardave.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. _ In Sidney’s Candy and Aikenite, trainer Todd Pletcher appears to have the horses with the best early foot and closing kick, respectively, in Saturday’s Grade 1, $250,000 Forego Stakes at Saratoga.

It is up to the individual handicapper to determine whether Sidney’s Candy possesses enough speed to wire this group or whether he will fold in a potential pace meltdown, thus setting things up for Aikenite.

Sidney’s Candy and Aikenite are two of nine horses entered in a seemingly wide-open renewal of the Forego, contested at seven furlongs over the main track.

Sidney’s Candy has been hailed as being a very versatile horse, one who handles turf, dirt ,or synthetic equally as well. He does not possess a versatile running style, however, and figures to have to use his speed from post 2 under John Velazquez. In winning the Grade 2 Fourstardave on turf in his last start, Sidney’s Candy got away with pedestrian fractions.

“Obviously this is a different race, he’s going to have to be ridden differently to suit the style of the race,” Pletcher said. “From a post position standpoint, I would have preferred to be outside, where we wouldn’t have to commit quite as much, but he’ll have to come out running and see how he handles it.”

Golddidgger’s Boy, who has won five consecutive races, and Escrow Kid, who set the pace in the James Marvin Stakes before finishing third, are among those who figure to challenge Sidney’s Candy for the lead.

Aikenite came from off the pace to win the Commonwealth and Churchill Downs – both Grade 2 stakes – this spring. After running fourth in the Metropolitan Handicap, he finished fifth as the 5-2 favorite in the James Marvin, a race in which he was kept too close to the pace according to Pletcher.

“I think with Aikenite, regardless of whether they go 21 or 23 he has to settle and make one run,” Pletcher said. “That was the mistake we made last time. We tried to keep him a little closer to the pace.”

Javier Castellano will ride Aikenite from post 7.

Jersey Town, upset winner of the Cigar Mile last November, will be making his second start of the year in the Forego. In his first, he finished second to Force Freeze in the Teddy Drone Stakes at Monmouth Park, a six-furlong race that was run in 1:07.77, just .30 of a second off the track record. Stretching out to seven furlongs and being reunited with Cornelio Velasquez – aboard for the Cigar Mile win – should benefit Jersey Town, a 5-year-old son of Speightstown trained by Barclay Tagg.

Jackson Bend put in a career-best performance when he won the James Marvin by 2 1/2 lengths here on opening day. Trainer Nick Zito believes his horse has maintained his form in the six weeks between races.

“He came with his game the whole month,” Zito said. “The main thing is he’s trained great. We just need a little bit of luck. I’m not crazy about the post,” he said of the rail draw.

Golddigger’s Boy has won 7 of 11 starts including three wins in four weeks, ending with a score I the $200,000 Don Levine Memorial Handicap at Parx on June 25.

“I think he’s ready to play with the big boys,” said trainer Ramon Preciado. “So far, he’s shown us he can run. We’d like to find out what kind of horse we got. He’s training great.”

Stewart Elliott, who is 5 for 5 on Golddigger’s Boy, has the call from post 3.

Hamazing Destiny, second in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, was also second in the James Marvin before finishing sixth in the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt.

Regal Ransom, who is 2 for 2 at Saratoga, and Rule by Night, who scratched out of Friday’s Island Whirl Stakes, complete the field.

Forego Stakes 2011

Purse: $250,000; 7 furlongs; Grade 1





ML Odds


Jackson Bend

Nick Zito

Corey Nakatani



Sidney's Candy

Todd Pletcher

John Velazquez



Golddigger's Boy

Ramon Preciado

Stewart Elliott



Jersey Town

Barclay Tagg

Cornelio Velasquez



Hamazing Destiny

D. Wayne Lukas

Robby Albarado



Escrow Kid

Carl Doran

Oliver Castillo




Todd Pletcher

Javier Castellano



Regal Ransom

Saeed bin Suroor

Ramon Dominguez



Rule by Night

Steve Asmussen

David Cohen


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