Candy Ride

Defeat could not catch him on a racetrack.

Between his stints in North and South America, his tenacity brought him graded stakes wins. He only collected a small amount during his racing days, but that was only the beginning.

The career of Candy Ride, at least in terms of overall starts, is a tale of two halves. Bred in Argentina, he spent the first half in his homeland, picking up a pair of Group I wins at the Hipodromo de San Isidro during the 2002 season. He was a champion before he even set foot in the United States, earning the title of Argentina's top mile horse that year.

Just before the summer of 2002, Candy Ride was in Southern California. Now owned by Sidney and Jenny Craig, the bay horse was under the tutelage of Ron McAnally, who has long had success with South American Thoroughbreds. In contention all the way in a one and one-sixteenth mile allowance on Hollywood Park's main track, Candy Ride pulled away impressively in the stretch with Alex Solis in the saddle to win his North American debut.

That prepared him for the Grade II American Handicap on July 4. Now it was time to go nine furlongs on the turf. Piloted by Gary Stevens, Candy Ride ran a terrific race, staying with the leader all the way before surging in late stretch to take the Grade II contest. The versatility and class were evident, but a bigger race was coming Candy Ride's way later that summer.

The 2003 Pacific Classic had a short field of four horses, but there were some big names in multiple Grade I winner Medaglia d'Oro, who recently added the Grade I Whitney Handicap to his resume; and two-time and reigning Santa Anita Handicap champion Milwaukee Brew. Medaglia d'Oro and Jerry Bailey controlled the pace, but Candy Ride and Julie Krone did not let them get away. They met up just before the top of the stretch, battling briefly. But Candy Ride duplicated his stretch run from two races earlier to claim Del Mar's biggest event.

It was a fantastic victory, and it would go down as Candy Ride's last victory. A ligament injury brought retirement a few months later, but Candy Ride has long since made his presence felt at racetracks. He has gone on to be a talented sire, with several of his progeny becoming successful on the racetrack. Several of them have made their mark in Southern California like their father did.

Misremembered won multiple graded stakes, most notably the 2010 Santa Anita Handicap.

Sidney's Candy swept the Grade II San Vicente Stakes, Grade II San Felipe Stakes, and Grade I Santa Anita Derby in 2010, and finished second in the 2011 renewal of the American Handicap. He also won turf races like the Grade II Sir Beaufort (now Mathis Brothers Mile) and Saratoga's Grade II Fourstardave Handicap.

Twirling Candy won graded events at Del Mar, Hollywood Park, and Santa Anita, and it was at the latter venue where he became the first horse to run seven furlongs in under a minute and twenty seconds in the 2010 Malibu Stakes. He later entered the 2011 Pacific Classic, taking second in that contest. Moreover, Twirling Candy was a winner going short and long, taking the 2011 Strub and Californian Stakes at a mile and an eighth.

Kettle Corn joined Candy Ride as a stakes winner at Hollywood Park by taking the 2011 Grade III Native Diver Handicap. He went on to place in several graded stakes across Southern California, including the 2013 Pacific Classic.

Though not a win machine, Clubhouse Ride came up with some stakes wins, and he stands as only the fourth horse two win the Californian Stakes twice. Despite the limited amount of victories, Clubhouse Ride inherited his father's toughness and drive, placing in many black-type and graded stakes over the course of his career.

One of Southern California's biggest fan favorites of the 2010's was sired by Candy Ride. Shared Belief was a dominant racehorse who inherited Candy Ride's penchant for winning, and that played a part in him securing eight graded stakes. One of those came in the 2014 Pacific Classic, which allowed Shared Belief to join his father as a champion of the event. Shared Belief also captured the 2014 Malibu Stakes and 2015 Santa Anita Handicap, among other races.

More recently, Game Winner secured Champion Juvenile honors for 2018 thanks to an undefeated campaign that saw him win three Grade I events, including the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

Candy Ride's stallion success is not limited to Southern California, however. Chocolate Ride was a multiple graded stakes winner in Louisiana, while Red Vine placed in various graded stakes back East. Vekoma has captured graded stakes on the Florida, Kentucky, and New York circuits.

But Candy Ride's most successful horse has been Gun Runner, 2017's Champion Older Male and Horse of the Year. A very consistent horse, Gun Runner only finished out of the money twice in his career. He won many races, too, with the Grade I Woodward Stakes, Breeders' Cup Classic and Pegasus World Cup part of that resume.

With two-thirds of his races being either a Group or Grade I win, it goes without saying that Candy Ride's career contains accomplishment. But it is hard not to wonder what else he could have done had his career been longer. Still, he has gone on to be a stakes winner as a sire many times over, including getting another Pacific Classic thanks to Shared Belief.

Sometimes a horse who does not have a long racing career will do well as a stallion, such as Malibu Moon. Candy Ride can certainly be mentioned on that list, too. He gave more than one of his horses the abiliy to win, and that has helped them on tracks across the United States.

It was true on the track, and it has been true in the breeding shed. No matter the career, Candy Ride can be called a winner.

Entry added February 12, 2021 by AF.