Danzing Candy has been a fascinating fixture on the Kentucky Derby trial, and is firmly pointed towards the big race on May 7th. A ton of the hype generated off his rousing win at the San Felipe Stakes has cooled since his follow up performance at the Santa Anita Derby went much, much worse. He’s still managed to maintain 16/1 odds so far in the KDFW, and he continues to train well.
To say that Danzing Candy blossomed out of nowhere is an understatement. The San Felipe Stakes was his first stakes race, and he entered as a 5/1 take with curiosity abounding. He had clocked almost miraculously fast training times given his pedigree as the son of Twirling Candy and was facing Mor Spirit, one of the best horses in the three-year old class this year. Then this happened:
Danzing Candy led wire-to-wire and trounced Mor Spirit in a thrilling debut, making him a sudden contender for the Kentucky Derby. The two would have a rematch a month later at the Santa Anita Derby and the race began the same way as the San Felipe did. Despite sloppy conditions, Danzing Candy shot out to an early lead and looked to dust the field yet again.
Fate would not be on his side, and inexperience showed. Danzing Candy faded down the homestretch as he watched Exaggerator and Mo Tom thunder past him to finish first and second in that order. The Clifford Sise protege would slide back to a disheartening fourth place finish.
Yet, there are still some that remember the San Felipe performance freshly and are willing to disregard Danzing Candy’s Santa Anita Derby run due to the awful track conditions. You just can’t teach speed, but you can certainly try to apply it better in competition. That’s what Sise and his team are doing right now as they work with their Kentucky Derby nominee.
Danzing Candy will run out of the number three post at Churchill Downs and his handlers have made no bones about the strategy. “The speed is to the outside of us in the six and 10,” Sise said. “So, we’ll be going to the lead.” Frontrunners usually perish around the second turn, but Danzing Candy proved what he’s capable of in March. If he can hold his speed and find the competitive fire that he lacked at the Santa Anita Derby, he will absolutely make this a race to remember.
Especially if you’ve forgotten about him.