Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

Kantharos and Sidney’s Candy: Affirmation and Confirmation

Posted by Brian Appleton on August 18, 2010

Jess Jackson once again looks like he holds one of the most powerful hands in the racing game and this time it comes in form of a shiny chestnut juvenile colt that goes by the name of Kantharos. On July 3rd Kantharos entered the Churchill Downs Bashford Manor Stakes (gr.3) as the favorite off his impressive 11 ¾ length maiden win May 13th and exited as one of the most extraordinary winners of the prestigious race in history. After stumbling at the break, Kantharos quickly found his stride under jockey Robby Albarado and proceeded to draw off in the stretch , winning in a hand ride by 9 ½ lengths with chilling ease.

On Saturday Kantharos once again put on a show-stopper, winning Saratoga’s prestigious Saratoga Special (gr.2) to remain undefeated in three lifetime starts. Coming out of the gate Kantharos was the victim of an aggressive bumping incident but it had seemingly no affect on the professional 2-year-old colt. Settling nicely in third down the backside behind pace setting Blue Right By and Bail Out the Cat, Kantharos and jockey Garrett Gomez began to pick it up as they approached the turn, moving in tandem with Bail Out the Cat. Shooting past Blue Right By it looked like a stretch duel was about to ensue as the two young colts battled it out head and head, but it quickly turned from race to rout. With just a furlong remaining Kantharos burst past Bail Out the Cat with a stunning turn of foot and instantly exploded to a three length lead. From there he just kept rolling, eventually cantering under the line 7 ¼ lengths the best, eased up in yet another hand ride.

After seeing him win his maiden at Churchill Downs on May 13th I told my family that I had found my favorite for the 2011 Kentucky Derby. A ridiculous statement to make so early in the year when the colt hasn’t even gone beyond 6 ½ furlongs running distance, plus too many things can happen in 9 months time, but I just have a feeling about this colt. It’s the same exact feeling I had watching Curlin romp in his maiden win, though not quite as strong perhaps, but my gut tells me Kantharos is the real deal. We haven’t seen the best of this young runner yet, who knows what kind of performance he will turn in when he finally gets asked for his all.

Sidney’s Candy is back and making waves in the three year old division once again. On August 14th, Sidney’s Candy rocketed out from the starting gate in the $150,000 La Jolla Handicap (gr.2) and never looked back. Easily one of the

best looking colts of his generation, Sidney’s Candy dueled with Macias through sizzling fractions of :23.10, :45.81 and 1:08.91. By the time those two entered the far turn the field was more than a dozen lengths behind. Then the real running began as Sidney’s Candy fluidly strode clear by more than two lengths halfway into the turn. Entering the top of the stretch he had ballooned his lead to a stunning 10 lengths, and with powerful strides his mushroomed to 13 lengths in a matter of seconds. Sweeping past the wire in a hand ride, Sidney’s Candy romped home by 5 ½ lengths in course record time of 1:39.52 for the 1 1/16 mile distance over Del Mar’s turf course. It appears that for now at least that turf will be his primary running surface.

After finishing 17th in the Kentucky Derby as one of the favorites Sidney’s Candy lost a good amount of prominence in the sophomore division. This win is just confirmation that he is indeed one of the best colts in training.

On Sunday the grand American and Europe champion mare Goldikova was denied the 11th group 1 win of her career when Makfi upset her at odds of 33-1 in the Jacques Le Marois (Fr-1). In a field that included multiple grade 1 winner Paco Boy, considered Goldikova’s biggest challenge after finishing second behind the mare last out in the Queen Anne Stakes (Eng-1) by a head, Goldikova lacked her usual explosive turn of foot in the final two furlongs over the very soft going and was passed after taking the lead two furlongs from the wire by both Makfi and Paco Boy. Makfi went on to win by 2 ½ lengths, relishing the soggy conditions while Goldikova and Paco Boy battled it out for second with Goldikova digging deep to overtake Paco Boy and attain second by a head.

Even though she was defeated one thing is for sure, Goldikova is more than a match for Paco Boy, proving in both of their meetings this year that she has the heart and talent to hold him off where it counts most. She is still on target for a shot at winning her third consecutive Breeders’ Cup Mile.

My final word on the Jacques Le Marois is this; Makfi may have been the better horse on the day, but the best horse did not win.

Other notable races over the weekend include Wasted Tears brilliant 7th consecutive victory when taking the John C. Mabee Stakes (gr.2) and Telling repeating in the Sword Dancer Invitational (gr.1), the only race he seems to be able to win apparently.

Reigning Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra made sure her name remained prominent on Monday with one of her most powerful workouts of the year in preparation for a start in the August 29th Personal Ensign Stakes (gr.1) at Saratoga. The 4-year-old filly went 6 furlongs in a strapping 1:13 1/5, a move that suggests she is getting better as the year goes on. Expect her to turn in a very strong performance in the Personal Ensign.

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