Ollie’s Candy Sweet as Sugar in Clement Hirsch
Courtesy of Curtis Kalleward of the Racing Dudes
DEL MAR, CA - Paul and Karen Eggert’s homebred Ollie’s Candy could not have transitioned to the dirt surface any better than when she ran sweet as sugar in the stretch to win Sunday's $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (G1) at Del Mar.
The Clement Hirsch is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Ollie's Candy receiving an automatic berth in the Longines Distaff at Santa Anita Park this November.
Breaking from post 4 under Kent Desormeaux at 4/1 odds, Ollie's Candy found herself forwardly-placed and was able to outleg the inside-running 6/5 favorite Secret Spice to lead into the clubhouse turn. Queen Bee to You kept close watch along her outside as she posted opening fractions of :23.05 and :46.68, with the rest of the field several lengths behind.
Heading into the far turn, Queen Bee to You began to give way, allowing Ollie's Candy to remain relaxed as she rounded the corner. Behind her, Secret Spice and Paradise Woods were gaining rapidly, though by the top of the stretch, only Secret Spice posed a threat to the leader.
The bettors' choice soon locked horns with Ollie's Candy, and at one point, Secret Spice took a slim lead, but Ollie's Candy refused to yield and fought back. The pair fought step by step the length of the stretch, but at the wire, it was Ollie's Candy by a head. The John Sadler trainee completed the 1 1/16-mile event over the fast main track in a final time of 1:44.66.
La Force, last year's runner-up, was unable to turn the tables this year, closing late to take third over a spent Paradise Woods, though she was 5 1/4 lengths behind the top two. A non-threatening Spring in the Wind and an eased Queen Bee to You completed the order of finish. Just a Smidge was scratched.
Ollie's Candy's victory was her first of 2019 and her second in a graded stakes event, following success in last summer's Summertime Oaks (G2) at Santa Anita Park. The 4-year-old daughter of Candy Ride, most recently second in the Wilshire Stakes (G3), improved her career mark to 8-4-3-0 with $452,151 earned.
Ollie's Candy returned $10 to win, $4 to place, and $3.60 to show. Secret Spice brought back $2.80 to place and $2.20 to show, while La Force paid $3 to show.
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