Sunday, February 15, 2009

Chocolate Candy shows heart in El Camino Real score

Matt Schriock/Vassar Photography

by Mike Curry

Chocolate Candy delivered a sweet Valentine’s Day gift to his connections as the Candy Ride (Arg) colt held off Massone to win the $200,000 El Camino Real Derby (G3) on Saturday at Golden Gate Fields.

Chocolate Candy moved up in tandem with Axel Foley approaching the far turn and overpowered pacesetter Aquicksting. Chocolate Candy dispatched Axel Foley entering the stretch and dug in gamely through the final sixteenth to turn back determined runner-up Massone by a half-length as the 1-to-2 favorite.

Chocolate Candy, who defeated Axel Foley by 1 3/4 lengths to win the California Derby on January 17 in his previous start, completed 1 1/8 miles on the synthetic Tapeta Footings surface in 1:50.54 to secure his first graded stakes win.

Massone finished 4 1/2 lengths clear of third-place finisher Rendezvous. Axel Foley flattened out in the stretch and finished fourth. Aquicksting, a maiden winner making his 18th career start, faded to finish fifth after setting the pace through an opening quarter in :24.11 and a half-mile in :49.04.

Jerry Hollendorfer trains Chocolate Candy for the Sid and Jenny Craig Trust.

Chocolate Candy won the Real Quiet Stakes in November at Hollywood Park and closed his juvenile campaign with a third-place finish in the CashCall Futurity (G1) on December 20 at Hollywood. With the El Camino Real Derby win, Chocolate Candy boosted his graded stakes earnings to $220,000.

The field for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) is determined by graded stakes earnings if more than 20 three-year-olds are entered.

Out of the stake-winning Seattle Slew mare Crownette, Chocolate Candy improved to four wins in eight starts.

For an Equibase chart, click here.