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The highweighted miler in his homeland of Argentina and unbeaten in three starts, including the Grade 1 Pacific Classic, in the U.S., Candy Ride (by Ride the Rails) has proven himself a source of speed that carries at least a mile, as well as a fountain of quality and racing enthusiasm.

With more than 100 stakes winners to his credit so far, Candy Ride had another pair in the winner’s circle on Feb. 25, with the promising and progressive Confidence Man in the G2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., and the lightly raced 5-year-old Candy Man Rocket in the listed Gulfstream Park Sprint.

A G3 winner of the Sam F. Davis Stakes as a 3-year-old, Candy Man Rocket was a prospect for whom great things were expected and high hopes were held. As a 2-year-old in training, the good-sized bright bay worked a quarter-mile in :21, striding out as well as any horse on the grounds at the OBS April sale. He was fluent and strong in action, with a stride length of more than 26.5 feet and a massive BreezeFig of 73.

He had all the bells and whistles.

Selling out of the Seven K’s Training and Sales consignment of Scott Kintz and family, Candy Man Rocket was popular with buyers and their inspectors, and he sold for $250,000, with Donato Lanni purchasing the colt for Frank Fletcher.

Kintz said, “Donato loved this colt, had seen him early at the farm, and was there to buy him. That sale got amazingly strong as it went on, and Donato came by the last day of the auction and told me that Candy Man Rocket would have brought 500 or 600 thousand that last session.”

Bred in Kentucky by R.S. Evans, Candy Man Rocket was raised just outside Lexington on the Leestown Road property of Wayne and Cathy Sweezey’s Timber Town Stables.

Sent to the sales as a weanling and a yearling, Candy Man Rocket was bought back each time, then went into training with Kintz in Florida and sold to Frank Fletcher Racing for $250,000 at the 2020 OBS April sale of juveniles in training.

“I’d had some horses for Mr. Evans,” Kintz recalled, “and after the colt had RNA’d at the September sale, he called me up and said he was going to send the colt to me. The colt had some x-ray issues as a yearling, and I asked Mr. Evans what he wanted me to do with him. He said, ‘Train him,’ and that colt never missed a day, never had an issue with anything. By the time he came to the sales as a 2-year-old, he’d outgrown the radiographic changes that had shown up earlier, and he was a top-notch horse.

“When Candy Man Rocket was training, he did everything right all the time; he went too fast the first time we let him run, and I wasn’t too happy about it. But the jock said he didn’t push him, that the colt just took off. He was that fast.”

The elegant colt made his debut at Churchill Downs in November and must have learned something, despite finishing well up the track. Returned to racing in January at Gulfstream, Candy Man Rocket won by 9 ¼ lengths, then picked up the Sam Davis in his next start. Immediately considered a classic prospect, the colt went off the rails in his next pair of starts, missed nearly his entire 4-year-old season.

Clearly, the talented horse has posed some challenges for trainer Bill Mott, but the conditioner has proven equal to them, and Candy Man Rocket has too. The horse has won his two starts since his long layoff, most recently the Gulfstream Park Sprint, and Mott indicated that he would give the horse a break of several weeks before his next race.