Golden Gate invader Ollie’s Candy passed her class and two-turn tests with aplomb Saturday as she fought hard to make the grade and remain unbeaten in Santa Anita’s GII Summertime Oaks. A 6 1/2-length debut romper going six panels on the Tapeta Apr. 22, she added a 7 3/4-length optional claiming tally over that same course and distance May 13. She’d been sent down to Arcadia after her last afternoon appearance, and posted three easy breezes over this strip in the interim.

Away well enough from the outside post six, the dark bay moved up to sit second off of Thirteen Squared through splits of :23.69 and :47.96. Scrubbed on a bit to keep up with the pacesetter heading around the home bend, she challenged Thirteen Squared at the top of the lane and appeared like she’d go right on by. Thirteen Squared battled back gamely, however, and Ollie’s Candy required the length of the stretch to eventually wear down her more seasoned and Grade I-placed foe.

“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 trainer Billy Morey. “[Rider] Kent [Desormeaux] and I have been lucky together. He’s ridden the three biggest winners in my life, this one being one of them. This filly handled everything well today. She was calm at the barn when we brought her over and her ears went up when we put the bridle on her…She was great saddling and all the way through the paddock.”

Desormeaux also piloted Morey’s first graded stakes winner Coniah (Harlington) in the Jan. 20 GIII Las Cienegas S. here.

“We’re all very excited,” said co-owner/breeder Paul Eggert. “Bill has done a great job with the filly. We knew she was game but I didn’t know she was going to be a graded stakes winner, but she is now… Her works have been excellent and she’s training well so we were expecting here to do well. We were confident, we weren’t assuming anything, but we were hopeful.”

SOURCE: TDN 6/16/18

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