07/24/2011 2:05PM

Saratoga: Sidney's Candy works swiftly on turf, unlikely to go in Whitney

Benoit & Associates
Sidney’s Candy has won stakes on turf and dirt, but his connections are leaning against running the colt in the Whitney Handicap on the main track at Saratoga.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The new connections of Sidney’s Candy are weighing their options for their five-time stakes winning 4-year-old colt. The Grade 1, $750,000 Whitney Handicap Invitational here on Aug. 6 has dropped to the bottom of the list.

 After working for the last five weeks on the dirt, Sidney’s Candy on Sunday worked on the turf, blitzing five furlongs in 57.54 seconds over the Oklahoma turf course. He galloped out six furlongs in an eye-popping 1:09.43.

Granted, the turf was firm and there were no orange cones, known as dogs, up to keep the horses off the inside rail. Still, it was a sensational work that has WinStar Farm and trainer Todd Pletcher thinking about next Sunday’s Grade 2, $150,000 Fourstardave Handicap at 1 1/16-miles here on the turf.

 Elliott Walden, the president/CEO/racing manager of WinStar Farm, called the Fourstardave “possible’’ but he also mentioned the Grade 1 Forego at seven-eighths on dirt as a potential target. Walden said he was “leaning against’’ the Whitney because of how difficult it is for a speed horse to carry his speed 1 1/8 miles.

 “The Whitney looks like it’s coming up very tough,’’ Walden said. “On this racetrack, horses seem to get caught within the last 20 jumps. They could be four in front at the eighth pole and it seems like the hammer comes down late.’’

 Sidney’s Candy is 1 for 3 on turf, having won last year’s Grade 2 La Jolla at Del Mar and running second, beaten a nose in the American Handicap last out. Last November, he finished sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, three lengths behind Goldikova.

  It was following the American Handicap at Hollywood on May 28 that WinStar Farm purchased Sidney’s Candy privately from Jenny Craig and transferred the horse to Pletcher. He worked five times on the dirt before Sunday.

 John Velazquez was aboard Sidney’s Candy, who went off in fractions of 11.83 seconds, 23.31, 35.09, and completed the five furlongs in 57.54. At the wire, Velazquez asked the horse to continue on he galloped out an extra eighth in 11.89.

 “He breezed awesome,’’ Velazquez said. “I knew he was rolling; Todd told me let him breeze so I just let him cook. Right by the wire, I [smooched to him] to test him and see how he did and he went on again.’’

 Said Pletcher: “It’s an indication of no cones, a firm turf course ,and a talented animal. I would have been disappointed had he not worked somewhat fast on it.’’

 Even without Sidney’s Candy, the Whitney is still coming up a sensational race. The initial list of invitees was released Saturday and among those expected to run are Grade 1 winners Flat Out, Giant Oak, Morning Line, Rail Trip, and Tizway as well as Grade 2 winners Apart, and Mission Impazible ,and the Grade 3 winner Rodman.

 Mission Impazible, also trained by Pletcher, worked five furlongs in 1:02.60 over the main track on Sunday. Mission Impazible, who won the New Orleans Handicap in March, was beaten a neck by Pool Play in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster last out.

 Giant Oak, who won the Donn Handicap in February at Gulfstream, worked six furlongs in 1:12.40 over Saratoga’s main track Sunday morning. Under jockey Shaun Bridgmohan, Giant Oak went in splits of 12.40 seconds, 24.40, 36.60, 48.40, and 1:00.40.

 “For him to work to like that by himself is a good thing,’’ Bridgmohan said. “Usually, he has to have company. Hopefully, it sets him up run a big one in the Whitney.’’

Flat Out, impressive winner of the Suburban at Belmont, is scheduled to work Monday at Monmouth Park. But trainer Scooter Dickey said Sunday he is pointing Flat Out to the Whitney.