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Candied won the 2023 Darley Alcibiades Stakes (G1) at Keeneland, a “Win & You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. The Todd Pletcher trainee was facing winners & trying 2 turns for the 1st time after winning her 6-furlong debut at Saratoga.
Is Candied a top contender for the World Championships? Watch the replay & get the Racing Dudes’ expert analysis, then tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Candied collared favored V V’s Dream at the top of the stretch en route to a 1-length victory in the 72nd running of the $600,000 Darley Alcibiades (G1) for 2-year-old fillies to highlight opening day of Keeneland’s 17-day Fall Meet.
With the victory, Candied earned a fees-paid berth into the $2 million NetJets Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) to be run Nov. 3 at Santa Anita.
Also earning berths in the World Championships were Hoist the Gold and Buchu.
Dream Team One Racing Stable’s Hoist the Gold won the 171st running of the $350,000 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2) to earn a spot in the $2 million Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) to be run Nov. 4, and Rigney Racing’s Buchu captured the 33rd running of the $350,000 Jessamine (G2) Presented by Keeneland November for 2-year-old fillies to secure a spot in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) to be run Nov. 3.
In the Darley Alcibiades, Candied provided trainer Todd Pletcher with his first victory in the race and gave jockey Luis Saez his second. Saez also won in 2020 aboard Simply Ravishing. Candied completed the mile and a sixteenth over a fast main track in 1:44.17.
Candied raced in midpack in the eight-horse field as Alys Beach cut out fractions of :23.84 and :48.25 with Brightwork and V V’s Dream in closest pursuit. On the far turn, Alys Beach was confronted by Brightwork and V V’s Dream while Saez had Candied in high gear racing four wide.
Candied had the momentum at the top of the stretch, stuck her head in front of V V’s Dream and outdueled that rival to the wire.
Candied is a Kentucky-bred daughter of Candy Ride (ARG) out of the Roaring Fever mare Toni Tools. Now undefeated in two races, Candied banked $358,050 for the victory and increased her earnings to $415,800.
Candied returned $10.16, $4.58 and $3.38. V V’s Dream, ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., returned $2.86 and $2.60 and finished 5¾ lengths in front of Alys Beach, who paid $5.70 to show under Flavien Prat.
It was another head back to Shimmering Allure, who was followed in order by Brightwork, Crazy Cami, Alpine Princess and Wine On Tap.
Todd Pletcher (winning trainer of Candied)
On facing Grade 1 company in just her second start
“That was my biggest concern. I thought the filly had the talent to do it; I was just concerned about the seasoning. Several of the fillies in here that we had to beat today had good, solid campaigns and she was just making her second start. But I’ll tell you, she trained impressively before her debut and she then just kept getting better afterwards. She was finishing her works and galloping out like she wanted more ground. Like (jockey) Luis (Saez) said earlier, he’s been pretty high on her since he first worked her at Saratoga, so we’re happy to see her meet expectations.”
Luis Saez (winning jockey)
“(I) definitely (was prepared for her tendency to lean in as she turns for home). She’s a filly who keeps learning; she has a big future. The first time I got on her in the morning, I knew she was pretty special, and she just won this big race. We’re so grateful, and thanks to (trainer) Mr. Todd (Pletcher) – he always does a great job with the horses – and to the team.”
On getting her to relax going two turns for the first time:
“It was pretty easy. She ran a pretty professional race. We knew the speed was going to go and that was the plan: to try to follow it and give them a surprise at the top of the stretch.”
Brian Hernandez Jr. (rider of runner-up V V’s Dream)
“(The race) was good. We had a three-wide trip and our filly was floating along on the outside. The winner got the best of us there.”
Flavien Prat (rider of third-place finisher Alys Beach)
“We had a good trip. She was traveling well all the way around. We ran a good third.”
Irad Ortiz (rider of beaten favorite Brightwork, who finished fifth)
“I’m not sure (about the added distance). She just didn’t fire. She broke sharp and I bided my time. Let’s regroup and see how she comes back. First time going two turns. I had a good post. She broke on top and I just let her relax. I sat there and I bided my time. She was galloping on the backside but just didn’t fire.”
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