Monday's $150,000 San Vicente S. (G2) at Santa Anita marks the third time that TINY WOODS (Roman Ruler) and SIDNEY'S CANDY (Candy Ride [Arg]) have squared off against each other. Although Tiny Woods has won both of their previous meetings, Sidney's Candy figures to attract plenty of support as he seeks to turn the tables.
In their mutual debut on July 25 at Del Mar, Tiny Woods led throughout and just held on from Sidney's Candy by a head. The two then went their separate ways.
While trainer Bob Baffert shipped Tiny Woods east for the August 20 Saratoga Special S. (G2), where he retreated to finish a distant seventh, Sidney's Candy stayed home in Southern California and broke his maiden by four lengths on August 22. In the process, the John Sadler pupil set a new track record of 1:02 3/5 for 5 1/2 furlongs on Del Mar's Polytrack. Both colts then spent time on the sidelines.
Tiny Woods returned first in the November 21 Golden Nugget S. at Golden Gate Fields, ultimately tiring to third. Sidney's Candy was not ready to reappear until the following month, when he clashed with Tiny Woods in a December 30 allowance over six furlongs at Santa Anita.
Although Tiny Woods had the benefit of a race under his belt, the highly-regarded Sidney's Candy went off as the 3-5 favorite. Sidney's Candy promptly spotted his rival an advantage by hopping at the break and getting slowly away from the gate. Meanwhile, Tiny Woods displayed his razor-sharp speed to grab the early lead and never looked back, scoring a wire-to-wire victory. Sidney's Candy was beaten a total of seven lengths in fourth.
On Monday, Tiny Woods will try to carry his speed a little farther in the seven-furlong San Vicente. Victor Espinoza will team up with the dark bay for the first time. In contrast, the added ground could favor Sidney's Candy, who promises to move forward in his second start back. Regular rider Joe Talamo will be back aboard the chestnut.
Baffert will also send out QUIET INVADER (Songandaprayer). After just missing by a nose in his debut, he scored a two-length victory second time out at six furlongs. Quiet Invader did not handle 1 1/16 miles in his latest venture, fading to fourth, but is eligible to do better while dropping back in distance here. Martin Garcia has the return call.
Other contenders include Willard Proctor Memorial S. winner CLASSICAL SLEW (Bernstein), who has not raced since his fifth-place effort in the August 9 Best Pal S. (G2), and RAGING WIT (Distorted Humor), who shortens up to a sprint after three losses going longer.