Candy Ride Filly Takes Them All the Way in Edgewood

Heavenly Sunday | Horsephotos

Florent Geroux nursed HEAVENLY SUNDAY (f, 3, Candy Ride {Arg}–Alien Giant, by Giant's Causeway)'s speed to perfection as the pair went wire to wire at 9-1 to annex the GII Edgewood S. presented by Forcht Bank Friday on the GI Kentucky Oaks undercard at Churchill Downs. A stampede followed them under the line with Revalita (Fr) (Recoletos {Fr}), Mission of Joy (Kitten's Joy), and Pipilio (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}) just necks and heads apart vying for the place and show spots.

When the gates flew, Heavenly Sunday hopped and stuttered out of the stalls and immediately got sandwiched hard between two fillies as she tried to maintain her forward momentum and gain position. Undaunted, she extricated herself from the tight squeeze and shot to the front. Stablemate Flashy Gem (Bolt d'Oro) at 9-2 tracked while Heavenly Sunday set all the pace, ears pricked under a hard hold through fractions of :23.19 and :47.89. Ears still flicking on the turn as Flashy Gem went after her, Heavenly Sunday held sway in the stretch and was game all the way to wire, not for catching. Her final margin of victory was three-quarters of a length.

“I think there was an honest pace but I don't think I was going extremely fast,” said Geroux, who was winning the Edgewood for the third time since 2016. “It was just a good rhythm for her to keep her comfortable. It looked like the horse was trying to make a run for me at the end but my filly had a major turn of foot.”

One of the more lightly raced fillies in the Edgewood, Heavenly Sunday races for William Harrigan's Miacomet Farm. The $170,000 Keeneland September RNA had debuted last September at two with a seven-length score in a turf maiden special weight at Horseshoe Indianapolis, then followed up with an allowance at Keeneland before being put away for the winter. She has since been third in Gulfstream's GIII Sweetest Chant S. Feb. 4 and Keeneland's GII Appalachian S. Apr. 8. Heavenly Sunday was one of four runners in the Edgewood coming out of the Appalachian.

“We've been pointing towards this race since last fall at Keeneland,” said trainer Brad Cox, who also won the Unbridled Sidney S. earlier on the Churchill card with Breeders' Cup heroine Caravel (Mizzen Mast). “I was disappointed in her first two races this year because I thought she would win. She put it all together today.”

Pedigree Notes:

Heavenly Sunday's win makes her the 53rd graded winner among the 108 black-type winners for Lane's End's stalwart sire Candy Ride (Arg). While she's also the 197th stakes winner out of a daughter of the late Giant's Causeway, what's especially notable here is the cross. Four of Candy Ride's graded winners are from Giant's Causeway mares, including Horse of the Year and superstar young sire Gun Runner, as well as Churchill GSW and 2019 GI Kentucky Oaks runner-up Liora.

Randal Family Trust bought the winner's dam in foal to Malibu Moon at the 2018 Keeneland November sale for $240,000 and bred her the next year to Candy Ride, resulting in Heavenly Sunday. Alien Giant was not bred for 2021 and lost her Game Winner foal in 2022 before delivering a colt by The Factor Jan. 29 this year. Although Heavenly Sunday marks the first graded winner in the immediate family in a few generations, Alien Giant's fourth dam, Victorian Queen (Victoria Park), was both the champion grass horse and champion older mare in Canada in 1975. She produced no fewer than three Grade I winners: Judge Angelucci (Honest Pleasure), War (Majestic Light), and Peace (Naskra).

Friday, Churchill Downs
EDGEWOOD S. PRESENTED BY FORCHT BANK-GII, $500,000, Churchill Downs, 5-5, 3yo, f, 1 1/16mT, 1:42.40, fm.
1–HEAVENLY SUNDAY, 118, f, 3, by Candy Ride (Arg)
             1st Dam: Alien Giant (SP), by Giant's Causeway
             2nd Dam: Alienation, by Rock Hard Ten
             3rd Dam: Alienated, by Gone West
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. ($170,000 RNA Ylg '21 KEESEP). O-Miacomet Farm (William Harrigan); B-Randal Family Trust (KY); T-Brad H. Cox; J-Florent Geroux. $291,400. Lifetime Record: 5-3-0-2, $428,833. Werk Nick Rating: A+++. *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree or free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Revalita (Fr), 118, f, 3, Recoletos (Fr)–Ebareva (Ire), by Machiavellian. 1ST BLACK TYPE, 1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE. (€12,000 Ylg '21 ARQDOY). O-Wise Racing LLC; B-Sarl Darpat France (FR); T-Chad C. Brown. $94,000.
3–Mission of Joy, 120, f, 3, Kitten's Joy–Smart Mission, by Smart Strike. ($32,000 Ylg '21 FTKOCT). O-RyZan Sun Racing, LLC and Madaket Stables LLC; B-Sam-Son Farm (ON); T-H. Graham Motion. $47,000.
Margins: 3/4, NK, HD. Odds: 9.68, 8.51, 7.21.
Also Ran: Papilio (Ire), Liguria, Girl Named Charlie, Cairo Consort, Sabalenka, Comanche Country (Ire), Flashy Gem, Preliminary (GB).
Click for the chart or the PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

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