Unbeaten in two sprints on synthetic Tapeta at Golden Gate Fields, Paul and Karen Eggert's homebred Ollie's Candy was more than ready for her close-up on Saturday at Santa Anita, as she stalked favored Thirteen Squared and prevailed in a thrilling stretch duel to win the Grade II, $200,000 Summertime Oaks by a neck under Kent Desormeaux. Trained by William E. Morey, the 3-year-old Candy Ride filly got a mile and one sixteenth in 1:44.72.
“Looking forward, through the rest of the year, all the big races for 3-year-old fillies are going a route of ground, so we decided to try it today,” said Morey, when asked what led into the decision to try graded stakes competition for the first time. “Kent and I have been lucky together. He's ridden the three biggest winners of my life, this one being one of them.
A rousing 7 ¾ length allowance winner going six furlongs at Golden Gate May 13, Ollie's Candy, who is out of the Eggert's Stroll mare, Afternoon Stroll, was off at 7-2 in a field of six sophomore fillies and paid $9.60, $4.00 and $2.80.
“I've worked her a few times and the way she's been working told me that she was ready,” said Desormeaux. “At the quarter pole, I knew I had a battle in front of me. She sprinted (home) there and she was able to hold it.”
With her first stakes win in-hand, Ollie's Candy is now unbeaten in three starts. With the winner's share of $120,000, she near quadrupled her earnings to $151,800.
Thirteen Squared, who showed the way to the three sixteenths pole, battled gamely but was second best on the day, finishing 4 ¼ lengths in front of Chocolate Martini. Ridden by Tyler Baze, she took significant late money and paid $2.80 and $2.10 as the 7-5 favorite.
Grade II stakes winner Chocolate Martini, who shipped in from Churchill Downs for trainer Tom Amoss, never threatened the top two and finished third by a head over longshot Zusha. Off at 8-5 with Flavien Prat, Chocolate Martini paid $2.20 to show.
Fractions on the race were 23.69, 47.96, 1:12.40 and 1:37.86.
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