Candy Boy made a very nice move to over take the immensely talented Chitu to win the Robert. B. Lewis and earn 10 points towards entry to the Kentucky Derby. But what makes him different? What does he have that says he can get the 10f of the Derby in an age where it seems almost all struggle to get the distance?
Candy Ride (ARG) is one of those really good stallion that probably does not get the credit he deserves. His best runners are well known and like a Classic Distance. From Misremembered (SA Handicap) to Sidney's Candy (SA Derby) and Twirling Candy (Del Mar Derby), there is no doubt that they can get over a mile. But now Candy Ride has two of the top colts on the road to the Roses with Candy Boy and the Juvenile Champion Shared Belief. (One odd thing I did notice though is why are almost all of Candy Ride's best runners West Coasters? Strange).
Gary Stevens said to Jennie Rees in the Louisville Courier-Journal:
"You can never have too many," he said of Kentucky Derby prospects. "…When I say Candy Boy is my No. 1 draft choice, I’m saying it for a reason, because he’s already proven. I’m not saying I’d have beaten Shared Belief (who missed the Lewis with a foot issue), but I was looking forward to a rematch with him. This horse, since we’ve gotten him on the dirt, he gives me a different feeling than he did in the CashCall Futurity. He feels much better to me on dirt than the synthetic."
So. I'll believe Gary Stevens when he thinks Candy Boy can get the distance. But the Candy Rides seem to be so versatile anyway, with Sidney's Candy winning the Fourstardave, Twirling Candy excelling on grass, and jumping between synthetics and dirt have never been a problem, that Candy Boy's transition from poly to dirt should never have been a surprise.
Out of the In Excess (IRE) mare She's An Eleven is bred on perhaps the best cross possible for In Excess. The cross has produced 3 of 8 foals as stakes winners, which is hot enough to be highlighted as an impressive Nick. She's an Eleven is a listed stakes winner in her own right, claiming victory over a 1 1/16 miles in the Melair Stakes at Hollywood Park. In Excess is a high quality broodmare sire with such runners as millionaire Amazombie, G1 winner Hot Dixie Chick, and Canadian Champion Bear Now, amongst others. The Average Winning Distance for fillies and colts out of his daughters is just over 6f.
Also hailing from the female family is the G1-Test winner Leave Me Alone. A winner of over $650,000, Leave Me alone was also 2nd in the Grade 1s La Brea and Gazelle. This kind of talent is hard to come by and despite the fact that she's out of Candy Boy's 3rd dam, that firepower in the family is always encouraging to see.
Coincidentally, a half to Candy Boy went through the ring at the Fasig Tipton Winter Mixed Sale. This filly, Sharp Act, is by Our New Recruit and while she only sold for $5,700 at Barrett's in 2013, she did not sell for $69,000 when the hammer dropped. It's amazing that in only 1 year the assessed value for this filly went up almost 1,300%. And it's higher than that since the consignors had the reserve somewhat higher. Candy Boy has already made waves in the sales ring in addition to on the track.
When hailing from a family with a truly top end runner like Leave Me Alone, and by a stallion that can certainly get progeny that want 10 panels, you really have to like the possibilities of Candy Boy going forward. His running style suits the Derby and with Gary Stevens up you have to be optimistic about the trip he would get. Definitely an intriguing prospect and I look forward to following him leading up to the Kentucky Derby.