Candy Man Rocket Victorious in $125K Gulfstream Park Sprint, Caps Big Day for Mott

February 25, 2023

Candy Man Rocket maintains perfect Gulfstream Park record (Lauren King)

Gulfstream Park Press Release

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.— Several hours after watching Elite Power win the Dirt Sprint and Casa Creed just miss winning the Turf Sprint at King Abdulaziz Racecourse on TV, Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott was on hand at Gulfstream Park Saturday afternoon to witness Candy Man Rocket’s dominating victory in the $125,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint.

Frank Fletcher Racing Operations Inc.’s 5-year-old son of Candy Ride kept his Gulfstream Park record perfect at 4-for-4 with a two-length victory under Junior Alvarado in the six-furlong sprint for older horses.

Candy Man Rocket, the 7-5 favorite, raced in third along the backstretch after breaking from the outside No. 7 post position, sitting off a torrid pace set by Super Ocho and chased by Lightening Larry. Super Ocho ran the first quarter of a mile in a blistering 21.49 seconds to open a clear lead into the far turn under Emisael Jaramillo. His margin began shrinking on the turn into the homestretch as the Chilean import began to shorten stride while completing a half-mile in 44.21 seconds. Candy Man Rocket made a sweeping move past the tiring pacesetter and Lightening Larry to take the lead at the top of the stretch and continued on to win comfortably.

“We thought one of the horses or both of them would go out in front. They both were really rolling. We had a great post, and our horse didn’t mind where he was,” Mott said.

Candy Man Rocket broke his maiden at Gulfstream in January 2021 before he captured the Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay. After losing his next three races, he went to the sidelines 11 months before returning to win an optional claiming allowance by 3 ½ lengths at Gulfstream in February 22. Following another layoff of nearly a year, Candy Man Rock scored by 2 ¼ lengths in a Gulfstream Park optional claiming allowance Jan. 21.

Mott has no definite next-race plan for Candy Man Rocket.

“I don’t want to give him a year off again, but I usually give him a little time between races. We’ll give him four, six weeks anyway,” Mott said.

Candy Man Rocket ran six furlongs in 1:09.91.

“I was just a passenger today,” Alvarado said. “This horse came with instructions.”

Lightening Larry finished second, 3 ¾ lengths ahead of Uncle Ernie.

Although his runners didn’t pull off a sweep of the sprint races in Saudi Arabia, Mott expressed satisfaction with their efforts.

“I couldn’t be more proud of both of them. Casa Creed got beat a nose. Here’s a horse that’s 7 years old and he keeps showing up,” Mott said. “Elite Power is pretty special. We saw that I think in his last six races.”

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