05/01/2011 2:42PM

Shirreffs says no to Kentucky Derby, maybe to Preakness for Mr. Commons


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Mr. Commons, third in the Santa Anita Derby last month, will not be sent to Churchill Downs for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby because he is not certain to gain a starting berth, trainer John Shirreffs said on Sunday.

As of late Sunday morning, Mr. Commons was 22nd on the list of candidates for the Kentucky Derby, with only the first 20 horses ranked by graded stakes earnings assured a berth in the race. With no guarantee of starting, Shirreffs is opting to keep Mr. Commons in California, but said a trip to Pimlico for the Preakness Stakes on May 21 is a possibility.

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Mr. Commons will be trained toward the Preakness and will not start in the interim. A workout is tentatively scheduled for Thursday.

“I don’t think it’s the best scenario, but it’s the only option,” Shirreffs said of training toward the Preakness.

Shirreffs said he would not send Mr. Commons to Kentucky “to sit around and wait.”

Sunday, Mr. Commons galloped on Hollywood Park’s backstretch training track.

Owned by St. George Farm Racing, Mr. Commons has won 2 of 4 starts and $186,400. In the Santa Anita Derby, he closed from sixth to finish third, 2 1-4 lengths behind Kentucky Derby hopeful Midnight Interlude.

Sidney’s Candy sharpens for Mervyn LeRoy

Sidney’s Candy, the winner of the Grade 3 Sir Beaufort Stakes at Santa Anita in his most recent start on Dec. 26, worked seven furlongs in 1:24 at Hollywood Park on Sunday and will be a heavy favorite in the $150,000 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap next Saturday.

“He went unbelievably,” trainer John Sadler said, estimating the horse covered the last six furlongs in 1:10.80.

 A multiple stakes winner, Sidney’s Candy has battled minor ailments, including a foot bruise in recent months that kept him out of several major stakes at Santa Anita in late winter and spring. In the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy over 1 1-16 miles, Sidney’s Candy will be part of a small field expected to include Crown of Thorns, Honour the Deputy, Spurrier and possibly Informed.