Maker’s Candy Takes on Four Rivals in $100K Gander

February 20, 2023

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

By Mary Eddy – NYRA Press Office

OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Peter Proscia’s Paradise Farms Corp., David Staudacher and Maxis Stable’s impressive maiden winner Maker’s Candy will make his stakes debut in Saturday’s $100,000 Gander, a one-mile test for New York-bred sophomores, at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Trained by Mike Maker, the son of Twirling Candy arrives from a dominant graduation at second asking in a local state-bred maiden special weight going the Gander distance on January 28. There, he emerged from the outermost post 10 under Jose Gomez and attended the pace set by Factually Correct while racing in the four-path down the backside.

The bay colt easily took command as the field rounded the turn and drew away down the stretch to post the 6 3/4-length victory in a final time of 1:39.05. The effort garnered a field-best 90 Beyer Speed Figure, a figure that “absolutely” gives Staudacher confidence heading into the Gander.

“We’re excited about taking a shot in there and see what he’s got,” said Staudacher. 

Maker’s Candy, bred by Newtownanner Stud, was a $200,000 purchase by Maker at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Florida Select 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale where he breezed a quarter-mile in 21.2 seconds. He is out of the winning Bluegrass Cat mare Purple Cat, a half-sister to Grade 1-winner Sky Diva, multiple graded stakes-placed Quick Little Miss, and Re Entry, dam of the multiple graded stakes-placed Shotgun Hottie.

Staudacher said he chose to name the bay colt after Maker, who trained the Proscia and Staudacher-owned Aquaphobia to a Grade 1 victory and Special Reserve and Temple to Grade 2 victories.

“Mike doesn’t like any horses named after him, so Peter and I decided to name him after him,” Staudacher said, with a laugh. “Mike picked him out early in the sale and really liked him. We were excited to get him.”

Jose Gomez retains the mount from post 4.

D’ont Lose Cruz defeats winners in an allowance optional claiming Jan. 15 (NYRA/Coglianese)

Clear Stars Stable, Mitre Box Stable, Big Toe Stables and Koshanostra Stable’s D’ont Lose Cruz enters as the lone horse in the field to have defeated winners. Trained by David Duggan, the son of Always Dreaming arrives from a 2 3/4-length victory over returning rival Starquist in a state-bred optional claimer on January 15. The effort was his first start for Duggan, who took over for Richard Schosberg when he retired at the end of last year.

D’ont Lose Cruz, with Kendrick Carmouche in the irons, sported blinkers for the first time and broke inward at the start from post 4 before taking up inside position and racing one length off the pace set by What’s Up Bro. Carmouche asked the bay gelding for more as they made their way through the turn and came away with a half-length advantage at the stretch call. D’ont Lose Cruz inched clear at the eighth pole and drew away to the strong victory in a final time of 1:14.63.

“The blinkers were a question mark last time and you wonder with a speed horse what effect the blinkers will have, but it helped him rather than hindered him,” Duggan said. “He has a level of seasoning that the others don’t have, but this race is an acid test to see if he belongs at this level and if he can move beyond it.”

Never worse than second in four lifetime outings, D’ont Lose Cruz earned a stakes placing two starts back when second to Acoustic Ave in the six-furlong Notebook on November 25 here. That effort came on the heels of a second-out graduation on October 27 where he defeated next-out winner Mariachi by a half-length in a six-furlong state-bred maiden.

Duggan said he expects D’ont Lose Cruz will relish the stretch-out to one mile in his first start beyond six furlongs.

“We’re testing the distance barrier and I don’t think it will be a major issue, but it’s obviously a question mark,” said Duggan. “He worked good and everything about him seems to dictate that it won’t be an issue. I think maturity and pedigree was always going to lead us in that direction.”

D’ont Lose Cruz made his final preparations on Sunday, breezing a half-mile in 49.42 seconds over the Belmont dirt training track.

Luis Castro Rodriguez has the call from post 2 aboard D’ont Lose Cruz, who was bred by Southern Oak Farm.

Starquist breaks his maiden on debut Oct. 9, 2022 (NYRA/Coglianese)

Chester and Mary Broman’s homebred Starquist seeks a breakout score after two previous on-the-board efforts in state-bred stakes. Trained by John Kimmel, the son of Nyquist was last seen posting his second-place finish to D’ont Lose Cruz in the aforementioned optional claimer on January 15. The dark bay colt rallied from sixth-of-7 under Eric Cancel to display an impressive turn of foot and secure place honors by 2 3/4 lengths over What’s Up Bro.

Starquist’s two stakes placings were third-place finishes in both the one-mile Sleepy Hollow in October at Belmont at the Big A and the Notebook, where he was headed out of place honors by D’ont Lose Cruz and was awarded a career-best 74 Beyer Speed Figure.

Starquist is the second named foal out of the Broman homebred Star Grazing, a stakes-winning daughter of Sky Mesa. Star Grazing is a half-sister to multiple stakes-winner and sire Friend Or Foe, as well as the multiple stakes-placed Stolen Star, dam of multiple graded stakes-winner and millionaire Highway Star and four-time stakes-winner Captain Bombastic.

Dylan Davis picks up the from post 3.

Completing the field are maiden winners Dr. Kraft [post 1, Jackie Davis] for owner Cedar Meadow and trainer Chris Englehart and Neural Network [post 5, Manny Franco], who races with blinkers on for owner Klaravich Stables and four-time Eclipse Award-winning conditioner Chad Brown.

The Gander, which is named in honor of the late New York-bred millionaire who won five stakes races at NYRA racetracks, is slated as Race 3 on Saturday’s nine-race program, which also features the $125,000 Stymie in Race 8. First post is 12:50 p.m. Eastern. 

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