Sidney's Candy's turf career consists of exactly one race, and man, was it a corker. In the La Jolla Handicap on Aug. 14, Sidney's Candy contested a furious early pace, left his exhausted speed rival behind on the far turn, and proceeded to run like a wild horse to the finish, setting a Del Mar course record for 1 1/16 miles.
And what that means for Sidney's Candy's chances in the Breeders' Cup Mile is anyone's guess. That single fast-paced blowout win in a Grade 2 restricted to 3-year-olds will be the only turf form to guide handicappers, since Sidney's Candy will be making his first start since the La Jolla when he lines up for the BC Mile.
It wasn't supposed to be that way. Sidney's Candy was entered in the Oak Tree Mile on Oct. 9 at Hollywood Park, but was scratched the day of the race because of what was described as a pending sale. That sale, from the Craig Family Trust to an undisclosed buyer, still had not been completed as of Wednesday, but Sidney's Candy remains on course to make his second grass start against some of the best turf milers in the world.
"I can train him up to the race," said trainer John Sadler. "It's no problem. He's a really good work horse."
Sidney's Candy has been getting in plenty of morning work. Since Sept. 13, Sidney's Candy has turned in six published workouts over a combined 34 furlongs. His last two, on the main track at Hollywood Park, have been bullets: five-eighths in 58.60 seconds on Oct. 11, and six furlongs in 1:11.80 on Monday morning.
"He galloped out in [one minute] 24 and four," said Sadler said. "He's ready to run right now. He's sitting on go."
Sidney's Candy will have at least one more work at Hollywood Park, but then Sadler will have to decide whether the colt's final breeze will come in California or at Churchill.
"I might breeze him on the turf course there," Sadler said.
Sadler already has several horses stabled at Churchill, and he can put Sidney's Candy on a flight to Kentucky either before or after his last BC Mile drill.
Sadler said he wasn't worried about the lack of a follow-up turf performance to validate the unusually fast-paced, front-running race at Del Mar.
"He ran a track record time, so we think he's going to handle the turf no problem," Sadler said. "I think he wants to run on the lead, but hopefully he doesn't have to work that hard to get it."
Sidney's Candy will be making his first start against older horses in the Mile, and also will be returning to Churchill Downs for the first time since the Kentucky Derby. His connections – whomever they turn out to be – can only hope for a vastly improved Churchill performance this time, since Sidney's Candy wound up 17th, beaten more than 50 lengths, in the Derby.
--The California-based The Usual Q.T. was taken out of Mile consideration this week. Delegator, fifth in the 2009 Mile and based in England, was announced as an intended starter by Godolphin Racing.