Feb. 23, 2016

The 3-year-old colt Gun Runner became CANDY RIDE (ARG)’s latest Triple Crown hopeful when he stormed home an impressive winner in Saturday’s G2 Risen Star S. at the Fair Grounds for trainer Steve Asmussen.

“He’s a very nice horse,” Asmussen told the Thoroughbred Daily News. “We’re very lucky to have him. I thought Florent [Geroux] gave him a beautiful trip with how the track was playing. He’s shown talent the whole time and it’s definitely good to see him in the winner’s circle in a race like this.”

“That’s the dream, right–the Kentucky Derby?” asked Ron Winchell, who co-owns the colt with Three Chimneys Farm. “He’s been highly anticipated and a quality horse. Right now the [G2 Louisiana Derby Mar. 26] is the plan.”

The win capped a huge day for CANDY RIDE, who was also responsible for the G3 Fair Grounds H. winner Chocolate Ride and the G3 Mineshaft H. runner-up Eagle, a Lane’s End homebred.

The weekend hits didn’t stop for CANDY RIDE. On Sunday, his 3-year-old son Unified was tabbed at TDN Rising Star after a first-out three-length win at Gulfstream Park. The $325,000 Saratoga yearling was foaled, raised, and sold by Lane’s End. Owned by Centennial Farms, Unified was bred by Blue Devil Racing Stable.

“He had been doing real good,” winning trainer Jimmy Jerkens said of Unified. “We would have been pretty disappointed if he at least didn’t run real well. We didn’t know who we were really running against, but he had been training great for the past month. He couldn’t have broken any sharper today. It looked like they opened his doors before the others.”

From top to bottom, it was an big weekend for Lane’s End sires. Also on Saturday at Fair Grounds, QUALITY ROAD’S 3-year-old daughter Lough Ness blew up the tote with a debut maiden special victory at 29-1. The Ann Marie Farm homebred was produced by the LEMON DROP KID mare Lough Derg.

And at Santa Anita on Sunday, TWIRLING CANDY’s 3-year-old colt Iron Rob earned the first stakes win of his young career with a half-length tally in the 6 1/2-furlong Baffle S. Iron Rob scorched the distance in 1:15.50 over a fast main track.

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