The handicap division became much clearer Saturday when TWIRLING CANDY returned to the racetrack in the G2 Californian S. at Hollywood Park. The brilliant Grade 1 winner, who will join his sire CANDY RIDE (ARG) at Lane’s End at the conclusion of his racing career, was hammered down to 2-5 favoritism in the nine-furlong race, and looked to be up against it as he was shuffled back to last on the far turn. The pace was playing against him, too, as the leaders were allowed a soft six panels in 1:14 1/5. But showing the class of a champion, TWIRLING CANDY and regular pilot Joel Rosario angled out for room in upper stretch and unleashed a devastating stretch run to get the win by daylight.
Daily Racing Form’s Mike Watchmaker said of the effort, “My, oh my. With a breathtaking turn of late foot that you rarely see in main track races, TWIRLING CANDY just inhaled his field in a matter of strides while barely being asked to run. This was a stark, but welcome reminder that when TWIRLING CANDY performs like this, there might not be another horse in America who is his equal.” Bred by Sidney & Jenny Craig, TWIRLING CANDY is owned by the Craig Family Trust, Martin Wygod and Lane’s End. John Sadler trains the four-year-old.
Finishing second in the Californian was Setsuko, by PLEASANTLY PERFECT, who has emerged as another of South California’s top runners. He was coming off a hard-luck second in the G1 Santa Anita H.