Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

Twirling Candy the Most Impressive

Posted by Brian Appleton on September 8, 2010

These last couple of weeks have been a blur of activity for me and I’m afraid I have neglected to be as consistent with my posts as I’d like to be. The holiday weekend was filled with a flurry of commotion in the racing world, so many things have transpired since I last wrote a post that I had trouble deciding what topics to cover.

Quality Road is headed for the Breeders’ Cup Classic after a convincing win in the Woodward Stakes (gr.1) at grand old Saratoga. After losing the Whitney Stakes (gr.1) by a head to Blame, the nation’s current leading older male, Quality Road’s chances in an ever-fragile Horse of the Year game seemed precarious at best. Now the flashy bay colt is back in the picture looking as strong as ever after routing a moderate field of runners in the Woodward by 4 ¼ lengths. This marks the third Grade 1 win of the year for the talented and speedy 4-year-old colt and his next start will come in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, a race he will now enter of a 9 week layoff. Some may question his ability to get the 1 ¼ mile distance of the Classic with his forwardly placed running style and lack of a 1 ¼ mile prep race but the way he rated off the pace in the Woodward is exactly what you want to see from a horse like him in a classic distance race.

In one of the most star-studded Grade 1 sprints of the year, Here Comes Ben managed rip through the sprinting ranks of the nation when devastating the field in the Forego Handicap (gr.1). In a field that included Grade 1 winners Vineyard Haven, Warrior’s Reward, Bribon and also multiple graded stakes winners Big Drama, Girolamo and Charitable Man, Here Comes Ben swept to victory by ¾ of a length to remain undefeated in 4 starts this year while making his graded stakes debut. Bulling his way through traffic at the head of the stretch, the four year old son of Street Cry surged from between horses to seize the lead from Big Drama moments before crossing the wire, winning in a hand ride. This is a horse to keep an eye on, he saves his best running for the stretch and extends his stride beautifully when called on.

Twirling Candy is a monster. It’s not very often that I can watch a frontrunner and feel completely confident of the outcome, but watching Twirling Candy charging down the stretch past the wire for the first time I had no doubts he was on his was to an impressive win. In what was easily the most impressive victory of the weekend, Twirling Candy survived his own immaturity to remain undefeated in 4 lifetime starts and post an impressive 3 ¼ length hand-ridden win in the Del Mar Derby (gr.2). On the backstretch Twirling Candy swerved to the right suddenly, taking Summer Movie out with him, but the colt quickly got back to business and entered the far turn with jockey Joel Rosario sitting chilly as a cucumber. Into the homestretch Twirling Candy pounded past the stands with powerful strides and drew clear with no urging whatsoever to coast under the line with plenty to spare. His next start could come in the October 2nd Goodwood Stakes (gr.1) on Hollywood Park’s synthetics.

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10 Responses to “Twirling Candy the Most Impressive”

  1. nice piece, B.

  2. LDP said

    If he wins the Goodwood, which he has a heck of a shot at doing I think he might be pointed to a start in the Breeders Cup Classic. I know he is a monster on turf, but he has two wins, already, over the HP Cushion Track, which plays very closely to dirt. You could actually make an argument his most dominant race came over that surface, in the Allowance he won. I actually just wrote a whole blog on it, and why he might go.

    If he does and he wins, there is no possible way a person can say this colt is not great after having beat QR, Zen, Blame, and LAL in his sixth lifetime start.

    • I can’t wait to see him in the Goodwood, I think he is the horse to beat hands down!
      It’s a tough call for the Classic and obviously that’s going quite a ways into the future, but if he does enter off a win in the Goodwood I think he has a great shot at winning. Looking At Lucky and Zenyatta would still be my top picks for the Classic though.

  3. ZATT said

    I agree Brian, there were lots of big wins this weekend but no horse impressed me in the U.S. as much as Twirling Candy … quite the talent. I had Cape Blanco, in winning the Irish Champion, as the Star of the Week, but it was a very difficult decision.

  4. Great recap, Brian. 😉

  5. markinsac said

    Im scared to death of him racing in the Breeders’ Cup, PERIOD! We all saw how easily he got spooked. I read one post that stated that he does this sometimes in the morning too. He might win the Goodwood Stakes at a rather mundane Hollywood Park track on Oct. 2nd. But at Churchill Downs, if the weather is good and Zen, Blame QR, and LAL all show up in the Classic, he might not be able to handle all that atmosphere! I think he was spooked by the stage of the ZZ Top concert the previous day. Just think what it would be like at Churchill with a record Breeders Cup crowd? If he causes an accident, horse racing loses big time. Just a thought.

    • If it is a habit of his getting spooked so badly then it would absolutely be a bad and dangerous idea to enter him at the Breeders’ Cup. Hopefully he will demonstrate a much more professional attitude on Goodwood day.

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