The excitement of having his first Breeders' Cup starter was tempered for Wilkes on Saturday with the news of the sudden death of Rauch, a co-owner and breeder of the 3yo gelded son of Candy Ride. Dr. Rauch, a director of the urgent care department at Leesburg Regional Hospital near Ocala, Fla., was 66.
Capt. Candyman Can worked a half-mile on Sunday morning over a fast track at the Skylight Training Center in 48 2/5 under jockey Freddy Lenclud. Wilkes hopes to give the sprinter his first look at Santa Anita's Pro-Ride surface on Tuesday morning.
“The work went well, the horse is very fit,” Wilkes said. “He's carrying his weight real well. He's a professional racehorse. You lead him over there, and he tries hard for you every time. He trains himself. My job is easy. I just have to keep him happy.”
A four-time stakes winner, Capt. Candyman Can was last seen finishing a fast closing second behind fellow Sprint contender Fatal Bullet in the Phoenix over the Keeneland Polytrack.
“I thought he ran a tremendous race,” Wilkes said. “Not to take anything away from the winner, but we were spotting him weight (four pounds) as a 3-year-old, and we were the only one running at him at the end,” Wilkes said.
Cost of Freedom – The 6yo gelding had a quiet morning at trainer John Sadler’s Barn 56 on the Santa Anita backstretch Monday, only walking the shedrow after he had put in his final Breeders’ Cup Sprint prep Sunday with a 6f move in 1:12 2/5 on the main track.
“He’s doing fine,” Sadler noted. “Tyler Baze will ride.”
The California-bred by Cee’s Tizzy was pointed for this same race last year, but was not allowed to run when he could not pass veterinarian checks. All systems are “go” this time around and the speedster looms a forward factor in the six-furlong feature.
Crown of Thorns – see Dirt Mile
Dancing in Silks – The quick California-bred gelding jogged Monday morning and will gallop up to his date Saturday in either the Sprint at 6f or the Turf Sprint at 6 1/2f.
“I’m leaning toward the main track,” trainer Carla Gaines said at her Barn 6 headquarters on the Santa Anita backstretch. “He knows and likes that trip and that run down the hill (for the Turf Sprint) is a little tricky.”
Dancing in Silks has won six races all together, including his last three, with the most recent coming at the 6f distance at Santa Anita in the California Cup Sprint on Oct. 3.
Joel Rosario, who is currently tied with Rafael Bejarano as the leading rider at the Oak Tree-at-Santa Anita meet, has the call on the bay speedster Saturday.
Fatal Bullet – A determined second in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint, Fatal Bullet jogged once around the wrong way with the pony on Santa Anita's main track on Monday morning under exercise rider Martine Pare and won’t work out again before the race.
“Everything is good with him,” said trainer Reade Baker. “He had an easy five-eighths work in 59 and change last Friday on the Polytrack in Toronto (at Woodbine) and that’s it.”
Fatal Bullet will be reunited with regular rider Eurico Da Silva in the Sprint.
Fleeting Spirit – The 4yo filly, who will be trying a synthetic surface for the first time when she takes on the boys in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, remained in quarantine Monday morning.
Trainer Jeremy Noseda has given the riding call to Frankie Dettori, who was aboard the Irish-bred filly in her very first start, a maiden win at Nottingham in 2007.
Most recently, Fleeting Spirit put on quite a show in the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp, when she missed the break and then rallied furiously to be beaten a neck in the 5f event.
Gayego –The 4yo Gilded Time colt walked the Godolphin Stable shedrow one day after turning in his final prep for the sprint, 5f in 1:00 4/5 on Nov. 1. He comes off an Oct. 11 score in the Ancient Title Stakes and has always savored Santa Anita, where he set a track record for 6 ½f (1:13.07) in the 2008 San Pedro Stakes as a 2-year-old.
Purchased by Godolphin following an unsuccessful Triple Crown campaign (after winning the Arkansas Derby, he ran 17th in the Kentucky Derby and 11th in the Preakness), he was shipped to Dubai where he claimed a group 3 victory and ran second in the Godolphin Mile.
“He was freshened up after his Triple Crown campaign,” said Rick Mettee, assistant to trainer Saeed bin Suroor. “Paulo Lobo brought him back and ran him on the Breeders’ Cup undercard last year (7th in the Damascus stakes) and then after that he set a course record sprinting over the Hollywood Park Cushion track surface for 6 1/2f (1:13.37). Then he was bought by Godolphin off that race specifically to take to Dubai and also because he had both synthetic and dirt form.”
Gayego also won a Saratoga allowance race prior to the Ancient Title, bringing his 2009 tally up to three wins and a second. Jockey Garrett Gomez gets the call.
Join in the Dance –Join in the Dance, pre-entered in the Dirt Mile and Sprint, will run in the 6f Sprint according to trainer Todd Pletcher.
John Velazquez has the mount on Join in the Dance, who is still eligible for an entry-level allowance.
“The owner wants to take a shot,” Pletcher said. “We’re going to need the planets to align to win, but the horse is training very well.”
Join in the Dance worked 4f in 47 flat Sunday at Santa Anita.
Kodiak Kowboy – Following a Monday morning work at Santa Anita's, Vinery Stables and Fox Hill Farm's Kodiak Kowboy was declared out of Saturday's Sprint. The 4-year-old son of Posse breezed 4f in 52 1/5.
“He worked well, but scoped bad,” said Scott Blasi, assistant to Kodiak Kowboy's trainer Steve Asmussen. “He has to go on antibiotics and will be unable to run (on Saturday).”
Square Eddie – see Turf Sprint
Zensational – Trainer Bob Baffert was all smiles this morning following a 4f breeze from the 3yo Zensational, an Unbridled’s Song ridgling pointing for the Sprint. The Zayat Stables runner came onto the track shortly after the break around 8:11 a.m. and worked a bullet in 45 1/5, the fourth in a series of speedy preparations at Santa Anita.
Previously, he drilled 4f Oct. 27 in 46 2/5, best of 11 at the distance, went 5f in 57 4/5 on Oct. 21, best of 19 at the distance, and went 6f in 1:10 3/5 on Oct. 15, best of 11 at the distance.
“He really he knows he’s getting ready to run,” Baffert said. “I broke him from the gate Oct. 15 and he knew it was time to get back to work. He just flew out of there that day and ever since then it’s really sharpened him up; he’s enjoying what he’s doing right now and he’s ready and strong.”
Zensational rides a string of four victories into the Sprint, the last three GI scores in the Triple Bend Handicap, the Bing Crosby, and the Pat O Brien.
“You know, I’ve been trying to slow him down but he just does it so effortlessly, he’s just incredible, he’s just a fast horse,” Baffert said. “He was born that way, I didn’t do it to him.”