07/22/2009 12:00AM

Synthetics key for Rock Hard Candy

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Rock Hard Candy is now 4 for 5 at the Presque Isle meet after defeating a field of starter allowance fillies and mares Sunday. Trained by 29-year-old Jevon Crumley, Rock Hard Candy has finished first or second in all eight starts she has made for him.

Crumley purchased the 5-year-old privately after she finished second in a $5,000 claiming race at Turfway Park on Jan. 30. She has really blossomed at Presque Isle, beginning with her win in a $10,000 claiming race May 16. Crumley bumped the daughter of Richter Scale up to $15,000 claiming company June 24 and she won again. Ten days later, on June 21, Rock Hard Candy dusted a starter allowance field, winning by 4 1/2 lengths in ridden-out fashion. Her only bump in the road came July 11, when she was beaten a head in a $15,000 claiming race, her last out prior to her win Sunday.

Crumley thinks Rock Hard Candy is running so well because she likes synthetic surfaces.

"I looked at her races before, and she just doesn't seem to like the dirt," he said. "She couldn't win for $4,000 at Hawthorne on the dirt, but did well at Arlington.

"She has matured and filled out a little, but I think the synthetic surface is the key."

Rock Hard Candy has earned $46,100 this meet.

"She has to be one of my best buys," Crumley said, "although I have another mare here, After Dark, that has been doing very well also and looks to be improving."