Life is grower sweeter for Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, who came out of retirement last year at the age of 50, continues to ride like a jockey half his age. He rode Oxbow to a sixth-place finish in last year’s Kentucky Derby before winning the Preakness Stakes with him two weeks later. He has another Kentucky Derby contender to get excited about.
“He’s not a typical Candy Ride, he sits higher than others and he continues to grow,” said Stevens. “The further the better for him. He has a high cruising speed. I couldn’t believe the time. When we were coming back I saw the time was one-forty-one, with the first quarter in twenty-three and change but it felt like we were going twenty-five down the backside. He covers so much ground. When you set him down he really gets underneath you and gives you a really good feeling.”
The Grade 1 $1 Million Santa Anita Derby (Apr. 5) will likely be the next start for Lee and Susan Searing’s CRK Stable, LLC.’s Candy Boy.
“When you’re looking around the United States, weather everywhere else is terrible, so right now, I’m staying right here,” said Sadler. “They had to cancel at Oaklawn on Friday, so we’re not looking to go anywhere but to stay right in our own backyard.”
Trainer Bob Baffert said of Chitu, “He was in a good spot and ran a pretty good race. I think he deserves another chance – maybe slow him down a little bit, maybe take the blinkers off him.”
On favorite Midnight Hawk’s third-place performance, “I liked the way he sat off horses today. He wouldn’t do it before.”
Overall, Baffert was pleased with his runner-ups, Midnight Hawk and Chitu.
“When they run 1:41 and change, those are really good horses,” said Baffert. “We got beat by a really good horse today. I think they’re both good horses.”
Stevens had nothing but accolades and high hopes for his mount Candy Boy.
“He’s the number one draft choice for me,” said Stevens. “That was quite a performance he just put on against some pretty nice three-year-olds.
Candy Boy returned $6.60, $3.20, and $2.20. Chitu paid $5.00 and $3.00 and completed the $1 exacta for $14.70. Midnight Hawk paid $2.10 and completed the $1 trifecta for $31.30. Diamond Bachelor completed the $1 superfecta for $167.50. The final time for the 1 1/16 mile race over the fast dirt was 1:41.83.
Photo: Courtesy Santa Anita.com