Trainer John Sadler has shipped maiden winner Holy Candy from his California base to Keeneland for Saturday’s Blue Grass Stakes (G1).
Owned by Craig Stables and Donkey Island Racing, which includes New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Holy Candy is the only entrant among the 13 runners in the Blue Grass entering the race with only a maiden win to his credit.
It’s not a move Sadler makes often.
“It is not something I do every day,” Sadler told Keeneland Publicity this week. “I did it with Line of David a couple of years ago. He had won two and I took him to Arkansas and he jumped up and won the Arkansas Derby (G1).”
Holy Candy started his career with three consecutive second-place finishes before putting it all together on March 23 at Santa Anita.
“He was very impressive breaking his maiden,” Sadler said. “You have to see the tape of the race. He galloped out 20 lengths in front of the field. You get one shot (at the Kentucky Derby) and it is hard not to try.”
Sadler entered Holy Candy in last Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby (G1) but opted to scratch out of that race in favor of the Toyota Blue Grass.
“He was 8-1 for the Santa Anita Derby,” said Sadler of Holy Candy, who is 30-1 on the Toyota Blue Grass line. “I thought the extra week would be an advantage. He has trained a lot on the synthetic at Hollywood Park and trained well on it.”
Holy Candy will be ridden by Joel Rosario, who won the Blue Grass last year with Florida-bred Brilliant Speed.
Holy Candy got a feel for the Keeneland strip on Thursday, galloping a mile and a half on the main with exercise rider Lupillo Alferez up.
Keeneland Publicity contributed to this report.
Holy Candy/Benoit photo