June 22, 2016

With Gun Runner and Paid Up Subscriber each winning graded stakes on the Stephen Foster undercard, and with Lane’s End’s own Eagle finishing second in the featured event, CANDY RIDE (ARG) confirmed his #3 ranking on the North American General Sire list this past weekend.

With roughly half the season remaining, CANDY RIDE’s runners have already earned $5,636,411 in 2016, putting him more than $1 million ahead of such standouts as Bernardini, Giant’s Causeway, Medaglia d’Oro and Kitten’s Joy. CANDY RIDE has 10 black-type winners on the year, seven of the graded variety, putting him behind only Tapit in each category.

It was a huge night of racing under the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs on Saturday, June 18, and CANDY RIDE accounted for the opening stakes double with big performances from Gun Runner and Paid Up Subscriber, respectively. Coming off a spring that saw him win the G2 Risen Star S. and G2 Louisiana Derby and finish a strong third in the G1 Kentucky Derby, Gun Runner was hammered down to 1-9 favoritism in the G3 Matt Wynn S. and didn’t disappoint, drawing clear to a front-running 5 1/4-length score.

The final time of 1:41.12 for the 1 1/16 miles was a new stakes record, and just missed Successful Dan’s track record by .08 seconds.

Trainer Steve Asmussen said the GI Haskell Invitational H. is next up for the $1.1 million earner.

“Visually, looking at him, I think that the horse has matured,” Asmussen commented. “He’s stronger than he was. He’s got beautiful speed, [and] his confidence should be exactly where we’re hoping for going into an extremely competitive Haskell, it looks like. I do think that he is of the highest quality and this is only his seventh lifetime race. He is faster now than he has ever been, and that’s a great thing.”

Gun Runner was bred by Besilu Stables.

One race later, the 4-year-old Paid Up Subscriber earned a deserved first graded success against the likes of champion Untapable in the G2 Fleur de Lis H. The crowd’s third choice making her two-turn debut, Paid Up Subscriber stalked intently and overhauled her rivals to post the three-length win.

“Even though we knew that there were some tigers in here, the way she trained up to it really gave us a lot of confidence going in,” said winning trainer Al Stall, Jr. “I’ve had quite a few good horses, but she’s trained [as well] as any mare I’ve ever had in my life.”

Paid Up Subscriber was bred by Bruce and Laurie Berenson.

The Fleur de Lis is a “Win and You’re In” event for the G1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

The Lane’s End-bred and -raced Eagle nearly gave CANDY RIDE a hat trick on the night in the $500,000 Stephen Foster. Sitting last of seven by a long margin in the early going, Eagle kicked into gear on the turn and was flying late to just miss by a half-length.

Trained by Neil Howard, Eagle won the G3 Ben Ali S. at Keeneland in April and was coming off a second in the G2 Alysheba S. in May.

Down at the sales, meanwhile, CANDY RIDE was the sire of a $370,000 colt at OBS June. The Sarge, Nick Hines, purchased the grandson of Breeders’ Cup heroine Cash Run for an undisclosed client.

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