Danzing Candy wins San Felipe, favorite Mor Spirit is 2nd

AP Photo

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) Danzing Candy led all the way to win the $400,000 San Felipe Stakes for 3-year-olds by two lengths, upsetting 8-5 favorite Mor Spirit in the Kentucky Derby prep Saturday at Santa Anita.

Ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith, Danzing Candy ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.04 and paid $13, $5.20 and $3.40 at 5-1 odds in his stakes debut.

Trained by Bob Baffert, Mor Spirit returned $3.40 and $2.20. Exaggerator was another three-quarters of a length back in third and paid $2.40 to show. Baffert was denied in trying to extend his record of five victories in the Grade 2 race.

Danzing Candy earned 50 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby, tying him for fourth in the standings that help determine the 20-horse field for the May 7 race. Mor Spirit earned 20 points to move into sixth in the standings with 44 points. Exaggerator picked up 10 points and fourth-place Uncle Lino earned five.

Trained by Cliff Sise Jr., Danzing Candy improved to 3-0 at Santa Anita, where the trainer said the colt will run in the Santa Anita Derby on April 9. He is 3 for 4 in his career, having won by 3 1/4 lengths at the track on Dec. 26 and by 5 3/4 lengths here on Feb. 4.

Danzing Candy inched away on the first turn and set the pace just off the rail. The colt held on under Smith’s left-handed whip.

“I said, `Keep going, keep going,”‘ Sise said. “I might have run harder than Mike did. He’s got such fluid action. He does whatever you ask him to do.”

Mor Spirit has finished first or second in each of his six career starts. Baffert said the colt will stay locally for the Santa Anita Derby.

“He ran well,” Baffert said. “He’s coming on. He got a lot out of it. We’re learning a lot more about him.”

Smokey Image finished fifth, losing for the first time in seven starts against tougher competition. I Will Score was sixth and last.

There was an inquiry and objection involving Exaggerator and Uncle Lino, but the stewards didn’t change the order of finish after deciding Uncle Lino’s chances at a higher placing weren’t compromised.