ARCADIA, CA – Paul and Karen Eggert’s homebred Ollie’s Candy made her dirt debut in spectacular fashion on Saturday, necking out her first career stakes victory over the 7-5 favorite Thirteen Squared in the Grade 2, $200,000 Summertime Oaks at Santa Anita Park.
Stuttering slightly out of the far outside gate 6 under Kent Desormeaux, Ollie’s Candy was rushed up as she passed the grandstand for the first time in order to find a clear inward running line. Successfully securing a spot in the 2-path a length off the lead, Ollie’s Candy stalked early pacesetter Thirteen Squared through initial fractions of :23.69, :47.96, and 1:12.40. Making her move midway through the far turn, Ollie’s Candy emerged onto the front stretch at her rival’s throat latch. Clearing away from the rest of the field, Ollie’s Candy battled with a game Thirteen Squared for the length of the stretch, but in the final furlong, the William Morey trainee was able to inch away to secure the score in a final time of 1:44.72 for the 1 1/16-mile main track event.
“I’ve worked her a few times, and the way she’s been working told me that she was ready,” Desormeaux said. “At the 1/4 pole, I knew I had a battle in front of me. She sprinted (home) there and she was able to hold it.”
Shipping in from Kentucky, the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks winner Chocolate Martini broke a bit slower than the rest of the field and never threatened the top pair, finishing 4 1/2 lengths behind while only edging Zusha late by a head for third. Fool’s Paradise and Exuberance completed the order of finish.
Ollie’s Candy had won her only two previous career starts, both at Golden Gate Fields over the synthetic surface, but shipped down to join Morey’s southern contingent once the San Francisco-based track had completed its meet.
“Looking forward, through the rest of the year, all the big races for 3-year-old fillies are going a route of ground, so we decided to try it today,” said Morey, who won his first career Grade 2 event. “Kent and I have been lucky together. He’s ridden the three biggest winners of my life, this one being one of them.”
Ollie’s Candy returned $9.60 to win, $4 to place, and $2.80 to show. Thirteen Squared brought back $2.80 to place and $2.10 to show, while Chocolate Martini paid $2.20 to show.