05/02/2016 4:35PM

Sires of the 2016 Kentucky Derby: Candy Ride/Twirling Candy

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Lee Thomas
Candy Ride

Lane’s End stallion Candy Ride has his bases well covered in this year’s Kentucky Derby.

If his son Gun Runner continues his run of strong performances in Louisiana that made him the points leader heading into the Derby, Candy Ride might pick up his first Derby winner and would add the classic accolade his otherwise sterling résumé had been missing.

If Danzing Candy wins the Derby, Candy Ride would get his kudos as a sire of sires, and his son Twirling Candy would make a bold statement among his class of first-year sophomore sires, which has to this point been dominated by Uncle Mo.

With Candy Ride and Twirling Candy represented, Lane’s End has a strong hand in this year’s Derby field. Lane’s End stands both of them at its Versailles, Ky., farm. Candy Ride, a 17-year-old son of Ride the Rails, stands for an advertised fee of $60,000, while Twirling Candy, a 9-year-old by Candy Ride, stands for $15,000.

:: Sires of the 2016 Kentucky Derby | Download the Derby Sire Guide

“I think it’s very encouraging to see sons [of Candy Ride] so quickly establish themselves as sires,” said Bill Farish of Lane’s End. “It usually takes a little longer for a stallion to establish himself as a sire of sires, but he’s doing it relatively quickly, and it’s very exciting for us to see.”

Candy Ride’s ascension to one of North America’s leading sires has been steady since his debut at stud in 2005. His initial crop featured eventual Grade 1 winners Capt. Candyman Can, El Brujo, Evita Argentina, and Misremembered. Future crops were highlighted by Shared Belief, the champion 2-year-old male of 2013.

As his foal population grew, Candy Ride entered the top 20 on the North American sire list by general progeny earnings in 2013 and achieved his best position yet in 2014 and 2015, ranking fifth each year.

“I think you see quite a variety from him,” Farish said of Candy Ride. “He gets a Twirling Candy type, and he also gets some that look a little more like him – that are a little more compact. He gets a variety of types, and I think that’s why he’s been so successful in a different way, because he can throw a variety of different physicals.”

Assuming all goes to plan, Gun Runner would be the fourth Derby starter for Candy Ride, following Candy Boy, Sidney’s Candy, and Chocolate Candy. The last-named was his best finisher, running fifth in the 2009 edition, and hailed from his first crop.

Being quick off the mark with a prominent first-crop classic starter is something Candy Ride and Twirling Candy will likely have in common. However, Farish said the similarities largely end there.

“The thing that jumps out the most for me is how [Twirling Candy] differs from [Candy Ride],” Farish said. “He’s a bigger, stretchier physical than Candy Ride is. He’s got more length to him and more scope, just a different kind of horse. Candy Ride’s a little more compact, and he obviously threw Twirling Candy, so he doesn’t always throw himself. He gets you horses that can go two turns.”

Twirling Candy entered stud in 2012 following an ontrack career that featured wins in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes and the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby, Grade 2 Strub, and Grade 2 Californian. He also chalked up in-the-money efforts in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic and Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup.

Twirling Candy outperformed his sire by 2-year-old winners in his first crop with the same number of starters, and trailed Candy Ride by $203,316 in first-crop juvenile earnings.

Twirling Candy’s combined progeny earnings of $1,167,144 from 45 starters and 25 winners in his initial class of 2-year-olds ranked him second among freshman sires in 2015 behind the record-setting campaign of Uncle Mo. His top juveniles of last year included Grade 2-placed Annie’s Candy and Gift Box, and Italian Group 3-placed Viren’s Army.

Twirling Candy’s first crop has improved itself at 3, giving the sire his first stakes winners in Danzing Candy, winner of the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes; Iron Rob; and Twirling Cinnamon.

“He’s really throwing his type of physical – a more two-turn-looking horse, a little longer, very athletic type,” Farish said. “That’s why I think they’re so commercial.”

Misremembered, a first-crop son of Candy Ride, also is sending forth his first crop into this year’s classics, led by Louisiana Derby third-place finisher Dazzling Gem, who would need a run of defections to make the Derby gate. Misremembered stands at Hill ’n Dale Farm in Lexington, Ky., where

Candy Ride began his stud career from 2005 to 2009 before being relocated to Lane’s End.