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Apr 30, 2010

A Sweet Derby for Sidney's Candy

By: by Jeff Frank, Contributing Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Here are five reasons why Sidney's Candy will win the 136th Kentucky Derby.

First, he's the fastest horse in the race. Not only did the son of Candy Ride break a track record as a two-year-old at Del Mar, he has consistently put up the best speed figures of any three-year-old outside of Eskendereya.

Second, the race sets up perfectly for him even from post 20 as there is absolutely zero speed from the four horses that break directly to his inside. Look for jockey Joe Talamo to have Sidney's Candy sitting about two or three lengths off Conveyance, Line of David, and quite possibly Paddy O'Prado in the early portion of the race and then power his way to the lead at the top of the stretch - think Big Brown two years ago.

Third, the chestnut colt has absolutely adored Churchill Downs. A blistering 59 4/5 five-furlong breeze on April 17 was followed by a sensational 1:11 3/5 six- furlong trek over the slop on April 24. In fact, his three, four and five- furlong splits in that second work were quicker than the fastest works of the day at each of those three distances.

The one great equalizer could be the track condition as heavy rains are expected to hit the area Saturday morning and continue throughout the day. The surface will be a slick one come post time but that won't affect Sidney's Candy one bit. After the April 24 workout, Talamo stated the wet track will not be a problem, and based on the horse's pedigree, the off-going could actually help.

Fourth, trainer John Sadler has been on fire of late winning three straight with Sidney's Candy, along with the Arkansas Derby (Line of David) and the Derby Trial (Hurricane Ike). He also saddled Emmy Darling to win at Churchill Downs last Sunday.

Finally, first-time dirt from synthetics has been a key angle in recent months as Lookin At Lucky (Rebel Stakes), Line of David (Arkansas Derby), Conveyance (Southwest Stakes) and American Lion (Illinois Derby) all garnered important three-year-old stakes victories this year. And don't forget, four of the first five finishers in last year's Kentucky Derby (Mine That Bird, Pioneerof the Nile, Papa Clem and Chocolate Candy) raced over synthetics the majority of the time prior to the first Saturday in May.

Sidney's Candy will win the 2010 Kentucky Derby by at least two lengths. The key will be finding the other three colts to finish second, third and fourth.


In answering such a question, it's important to figure out how the race will be run.

There is enough speed to ensure a decent pace but don't expect the horses to fly early on. The sloppy conditions will keep the fractions relatively slow, say 47 and change for the first half-mile.

Speed usually holds better on an off-track even though Mine That Bird closed like a horse possessed in last year's race. That's not to say Conveyance, Line of David and Paddy O'Prado will hold on for second, third and fourth, but they might not falter as fast as they would under normal circumstances.

A boatload of stalkers falling into two distinct groups will sit anywhere between two and five lengths off the pace. The A-list is highlighted by three colts with solid chances of sticking around through the stretch, while the B- list consists of four that will wilt when challenged by the first set.

Super Saver, American Lion and Lookin At Lucky make up the "A" group and Jackson Bend, Discreetly Mine, Noble's Promise and Mission Impazible fall into the "B" set.

With so many three-year-olds expected to stay close to the lead, the horses near the back of the pack will have a lot to do around the far turn, especially with tons of muddy dirt being kicked in their faces.

Those horses - nine in total - could also be placed into two separate categories as only a few have a chance to hit the board.

The horses that are in over their heads are Homeboykris, Backtalk, Make Music for Me, Devil May Care, Dean's Kitten and Dublin.

The colts with a shot are Stately Victor, Awesome Act and Ice Box

Based on the above information, the three superfecta slots behind Sidney's Candy could be filled by only six horses - Super Saver, American Lion and Lookin At Lucky, Stately Victor, Awesome Act and Ice Box.

Let's take a historical perspective of which types of horses usually finish in those slots.

In the last eight runnings of the Derby, only 10 of the 33 (there was a dead- heat for fourth in 2006) superfecta finishers were more than 10 lengths off the lead after the first half-mile, and eight of the 10 (80%) were only able to run first, second, third or fourth when the first four furlongs were run in 46 1/5 seconds or faster.

Only three were victorious (Street Sense, Giacomo and Mine That Bird) while the other seven finished either third or fourth. Based on those figures, one can assume that Ice Box will have too much ground to make up to finish in the place spot.

So, which of the other five have the best chance of running second? Let's run down the list.

As is the case with Ice Box, Stately Victor might find himself with too much to do late in the race but the Blue Grass winner must be considered as he's looked fantastic all week. He's definitely coming into his own at the right time and could easily finish second since he's bred to love the wet going.

Super Saver and American Lion have decent chances to pick up second-place money as both colts should be able to work out decent trips. Super Saver has already won a race in the slop while American Lion is bred to handle off-tracks.

Lookin At Lucky is a prime candidate to hit the board, as the morning line favorite has won six of his eight career starts. However, he's run into trouble in three of his last four races and post one will not help his cause.

There have been mixed signals concerning Awesome Act of late. The wet track should be in his favor and the Derby is his third start off a four-month layoff. On the other hand, his trainer is not 100% confident the Gotham winner will move forward going 1 1/4-miles.


For those with a $100 bankroll, I suggest betting $52 to win on Sidney's Candy.

In addition, play a $1 superfecta bet with Sidney's Candy on top of Lookin At Lucky, Super Saver, Stately Victor, American Lion and Awesome Act, over the same five plus Ice Box for third, and all six for fourth.

For those who don't have the time to look at each horse's numbers, the bets are as follows: $52 to win on the 20, along with a $1 superfecta - 20/1, 4, 6, 7, 16/1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 16/, 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 16.

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