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Ollie’s Candy Takes Clement Hirsch
Ollie’s Candy, the homebred of Paul and Karen Eggert, crossed the line first at the $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (G1) at Del Mar on Sunday. The 4/1 horse performed impressively in the stretch to get the victory.
The dirt surface race at Clement Hirsch was a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, and Ollie’s Candy got an automatic berth in the Longines Distaff at Santa Anita Park which will run in November.
The horse broke from post 4 under jockey Kent Desormeaux. At the start of the race, she was near the front of the group and was able to move ahead of the 6/5 favorite Secret Spice, who was running on the inside. As they went into the clubhouse turn, Ollie’s Candy was out front.
Queen Bee to You was keeping pace along the outside, and Ollie’s Candy went through the opening fractions with :23.05 and :46.68. She continued to pull away with the rest of the field several lengths behind her.
As they moved into the turn, Queen Bee to You began to fall behind as Ollie’s Candy’s lead increased around the corner. Secret Spice and Paradise Woods started to move up to the front, but Paradise Woods fell back through the top of the stretch. Secret Spice was the only one left who was challenging Ollie’s Candy for the first-place spot.
Battling in the Stretch
As the two horses became close to each other, there was one point in which Secret Spice took a small lead. The lead didn’t last long as Ollie’s Candy pushed ahead to regain the front. As they moved through the stretch, they were battling each other all the way until the end. Ollie’s Candy was able to tough it out and cross the line by a head.
Ollie’s Candy, trained by John Sadler, was able to finish the 11/16-mile race over the fast main track with a final time of 1:44.66.
Jockey Kent Desormeaux spoke about the horse after the race.
“I was just letting her do her thing; reins were dangling,” he said. “At the 1/4 pole, I picked her up, and she did the rest. She came again (in the lane). That other mare got in front of us, but my mare is a fighter, She wants to win.”
Desormeaux had never won the Clement Hirsh until Sunday’s race at Del Mar.
Rest of the Field
Last year’s runner-up, La Force, was not able to have a repeat performance this year. He finished third after passing Paradise Woods. He closed late and was 5 1/4 lengths behind Ollie’s Candy and Secret Spice.
To finish the order, Spring in the Wind and Queen Bee to You finished in the last two spots. Just a Smidge was scratched before the race.
Ollie’s Candy Record
The Clement Hirsh was Ollie’s Candy’s first victory of 2019. It was her second graded stakes event after the Summertime Oaks (G2) at Santa Anita Park last year. Her most recent race was the Wilshire Stakes (G3) where she finished second. The four-year old daughter of Candy Ride now has a career record of 8-4-3-0, with her earnings sitting at $452,151.
“She is really a nice filly who ran in some big races here last year for (former trainer) Bill Morey, Jr.,” Sadler said. “She came my way in really good shape, and I’ve just kind of carried on for what he did last year. She ran a good race her last start at Santa Anita, came down here and had a bullet work over the track, which showed me she had an affinity for the dirt. A lot of Candy Rides can run on any surface. You don’t give Kent any instructions. You just don’t. So I was surprised to see her in front, but it worked out.”
Sadler has won five of the meet’s stakes races, including Saturday’s Bing Crosby Stakes (G1) with Cistron. There have been a total of 13 stakes races.
Ollie’s Candy returned $10 to win, $4 to place, and $3.60 to show. Secret Spice returned $2.80 to place and $2.20 to show. La Force paid $3 to show.