Second Chances: Candy Ride Colt a ‘Second-Half Horse’ for Spendthrift

In this continuing series, TDN’s Senior Racing Editor Steve Sherack catches up with the connections of promising maidens to keep on your radar.

A little racing experience may be, ahem, just what Ocasek (c, 3, Candy Ride {Arg}–Shananies Song, by Eltish) needed.

Carrying the name of Ric Ocasek, the late frontman for The Cars, the Spendthrift Farm colorbear wasn’t off to the sharpest of beginnings from his rail draw and was forced to steady in the early stages traveling 6 1/2 furlongs on debut for Chad Brown in the opener at the Big A last Sunday.

Pushed along by Dylan Davis while trailing the field of five through an opening quarter in :22.39, Ocasek hit the gas entering the far turn and was rolling while four wide approaching the quarter pole as well-meant firster Harrodsburg (Constitution) kicked for home in complete control.

Still racing on his left lead down the stretch, Ocasek finally switched over a furlong from home and finished up nicely in a field-best :31.82 to cut Harrodsburg’s margin of victory to 2 1/4 lengths.

Ocasek, a $440,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling, earned a rock solid 83 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort.

“I think in the first start, mostly I just want to see them finishing strong,” Spendthrift Farm General Manager Ned Toffey said.

“We never really thought he was gonna be a real early horse. It was very encouraging the way he ran on. Chad was very positive about what he saw and the numbers he ran.”

Toffey added, “With a little luck, he feels like he might be a nice second-half horse for us.”

Bred in Kentucky by Charles T. Matses, Ocasek’s leading sire Candy Ride is responsible for 17 Grade I winners, including the brilliant Gun Runner.

Out of the stakes-winning and very productive Eltish mare Shananies Song, a homebred for Matses, Ocasek is a half-brother to Favorable Outcome (Flatter), GSW & MGISP, $522,818; Mouheeb (Flatter), GSW-UAE, $192,966; Bellamentary (Bellamy Road), SW & MGSP, $216,200; and last year’s GIII Fantasy S. runner-up Beguine (Gun Runner).

What’s next for the Triple Crown-nominated Ocasek?

“That’s really more up to Chad,” Toffey replied. “We certainly feel like this horse is gonna be best going farther. He came out of the race well. Certainly, the plan will be to stretch him out, whether that happens in his next start or after that. We’ll see how things go with him, but we’re very encouraged so far.”

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