Maker’s Candy Looks To Make First Start Against Winners in $100K Gander

February 19, 2023

Maker’s Candy breaks his maiden Jan. 28 (NYRA/Coglianese)

Stakes-winning Barese Back in Training Soon

Temple in Good Order Following McKnight Fifth

Artemus Citylimits Nearing Return After Breeders’ Cup Try

Special Reserve Gears up for 2023 Campaign

NYRA Press Office

OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Peter Proscia’s Paradise Farms Corp., David Staudacher and Maxis Stable’s Maker’s Candy will look to make his first start against winners in the $100,000 Gander, a one-mile test for state-bred sophomores, on February 25 at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Trained by Mike Maker, the son of Twirling Candy was last seen posting a strong second-out graduation in a one-mile state-bred maiden special weight on January 28. Ridden from post 10 by Jose Gomez, Maker’s Candy raced close to the pace set by Factually Correct before taking command in the turn and drawing away down the stretch to a 6 3/4-length victory in a final time of 1:39.05. The effort was awarded a 90 Beyer Speed Figure.

A win with Maker’s Candy would give Proscia and Staudacher a second consecutive Gander score after taking last year’s running with the Maker-trained Barese, who went on to capture an additional stake and four stakes placings after his 1 1/4-length victory.

“We’re excited to follow in Barese’s footsteps,” Staudacher said of Maker’s Candy. “He was very impressive in the maiden, so we’re excited to see what he’s got.”

As Maker’s Candy prepares for his stakes debut, Barese is preparing for a return to the races after a brief freshening in Florida. The son of Laoban was last seen finishing sixth in the state-bred Alex M. Robb on December 17 here to close out a sophomore campaign that saw him win the Rego Park and Gander at the Big A, as well as the New York Derby at Finger Lakes Racetrack.

“We just shipped him back up to New York from Florida and he’ll be back training in a little bit,” said Staudacher. “He’s been very nice for us and we’re excited.”

Barese, who was purchased for $150,000 by Maker at the Fasig-Tipton Florida Select 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale, has amassed $431,750 in earnings through a lifetime record of 11-4-2-2.

Temple wins last year’s G2 Mac Diarmida at Gulfstream Park (Ryan Thompson)

Paradise Farms and Staudacher’s graded stakes-winner Temple exited an even fifth-place finish in the Grade 3 William L. McKnight on January 28 at Gulfstream Park in good order and will likely return to training in either Kentucky or New York in the near future.

The dark bay son of Temple City was bumped at the start of the 1 1/2-mile McKnight and raced in the middle of the 11-horse field under Florent Geroux but failed to fire after shuffling back to 10th at the one-mile call.

“He didn’t have a great trip,” said Staudacher. “He’ll probably come back up to New York or Kentucky soon.”

The consistent Artemus Citylimits is also nearing a return after a freshening on the heels of a close fifth-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in November at Keeneland. The 6-year-old son of Temple City raced one length off the pace under Juan Hernandez and settled for fifth 2 1/2 lengths back of the pacesetting Caravel after he was unable to keep up with the winner’s swift fractions.

The Ontario-bred finished on the board in nine-of-10 starts last year, including two allowance victories at Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course, as well as graded stakes placings in the Grade 2 Turf Sprint at Kentucky Downs and Grade 2 Woodford at Keeneland.

“We gave him a break after the Breeders’ Cup and we should be ready to go once the weather turns and the turf opens up in Kentucky,” said Staudacher. “He’s been a joy and he’s a nice horse. He ran a great race in the Breeders’ Cup, so we’re excited to have him back.”

Special Reserve after his 2021 G2 Phoenix win (Coady Photography)

Multiple graded stakes-winner Special Reserve, who was named the National HBPA’s 2021 Claiming Horse of the Year after Proscia and Staudacher haltered him for $40,000, is also gearing up for a 2023 campaign. The 7-year-old Midshipman gelding has not raced since finishing a distant eighth in the Grade 2 Phoenix in October at Keeneland.

Special Reserve made three starts last year, earning a victory in the Senator Robert C. Byrd Memorial in August at Mountaineer. His 2021 campaign included graded scores in the Grade 2 Phoenix at Keeneland and the Grade 3 Maryland Sprint Match Series at Pimlico Race Course, as well as a game fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Del Mar.

“He’s at Trackside at Churchill Downs, so he’ll be ready to go soon,” Staudacher said. “He’s such a special horse for us to be claimed like that and have won as many races as he has and run fourth in the Breeders’ Cup. He’s just special. We gave him time off and he’s doing really well now.”

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