01/13/2011 2:31PM

Sidney's Candy a big favorite in San Fernando Stakes

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Benoit & Associates
Sidney’s Candy is doing so well that trainer John Sadler has decided to run him in Saturday’s San Fernando at Santa Anita rather than wait for the Kilroe Mile.

ARCADIA, Calif. – The initial list of races for Sidney’s Candy at Santa Anita this winter did not include a start in Saturday’s $150,000 San Fernando Stakes.

The first goal, the Grade 3 Sir Beaufort Stakes on Dec. 26, went as planned with a victory by 7 1/4 lengths. The next idea mentioned was the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile on turf March 5. The colt quickly indicated to trainer John Sadler that he wanted to do much more after the Sir Beaufort.

“It was an audible,” Sadler said of the San Fernando. “He came out of the race so well and breezed as well as a horse can breeze. He just looks great.”

Owned by Jenny Craig, Sidney’s Candy won his fifth career stakes in the Sir Beaufort, over a mile, and will be heavily favored to win another in the Grade 2 San Fernando, for 4-year-olds over 1 1/16 miles. Sadler is confident that can be achieved.

“I don’t want to sound egotistical, but I think he will,” Sadler said. “I believe that when horses are good, you run them.”

The San Fernando is the feature race on a nine-race program that includes two other stakes – the $100,000 Sham Stakes, a Grade 3 for 3-year-olds over 1 1/16 miles; and the $150,000 Santa Ynez Stakes, a Grade 2 for 3-year-old fillies over seven furlongs.

Sidney’s Candy, who will be ridden by Joel Rosario, is part of a field of nine in the San Fernando. A winner of 6 of 11 starts and $893,560, Sidney’s Candy has won four stakes at Santa Anita, including the Santa Anita Derby last April.

The only real blemishes on his record are two trips to Churchill Downs last year – a 17th in the Kentucky Derby and a sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile in November.

In most races, he has been on or near the lead. Sadler sees no reason to change that approach, even though the San Fernando field includes Tweebster, who has won his last two starts close to the pace.

“We’ve got a different kind of speed,” Sadler said. “We want our horse to run his race. He’s a relatively fresh horse.”

Understandably, Sidney’s Candy is the horse that rival trainers fear.

Tweebster, trained by Bob Baffert, will make his stakes debut in the San Fernando, his 11th start. Owned by Kaleem Shah, Tweebster won three consecutive races at Hollywood Park in the fall – a maiden race on turf and two optional claimers on the main track.

“He’s really changed,” Baffert said. “He went through a time when he was really light. He’s started to fill out and he’s got his confidence up.”

Tweebster, who will be ridden by leading jockey Rafael Bejarano, drew the rail and is one of three horses in the field yet to win a stakes. The other two – Do It All and Victory With Honor – are trained by Eoin Harty.

Victory With Honor has won his last two starts, a maiden race and an optional claimer at Hollywood Park in the fall.

“It’s a huge step to have him in against Sidney’s Candy,” Harty said.

Do It All won an allowance race at Golden Gate Fields on Dec. 11. He finished second but was promoted to first when a rival was disqualified for a bumping incident in late stretch. Despite the inexperience of Victory With Honor and Do It All, Harty said the San Fernando is worth a try.

“They’re both 4-year-olds, and it’s a good opportunity to find out what we’ve got,” he said. “They’re two-turn horses, and we need to take a shot every now and then.”

Aside from Sidney’s Candy, the six stakes winners include Thiskyhasnolimit, who won two stakes last year; and Haimish Hy, the upset winner of the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby on turf Nov. 28. Trained by Art Sherman, Haimish Hy won the El Cajon Stakes on the synthetic track at Del Mar in September.