By Lucas Marquardt
Lane's End Farm's Twirling Candy has enjoyed a breakout year in 2018, currently ranking second behind only Uncle Mo among all fourth-crop sires by earnings. Not only does he have a bonafide top-notch Breeders' Cup contender in female sprint ace Finley'sluckycharm, but he also recently received a boost when his 2-year-old son Trophy Chaser romped to a jaw-dropping 15 3/4-length debut win at Gulfstream Aug. 25, good for a 96 Beyer Speed Figure–tops among all juveniles to date. As Twirling Candy prepares to enter the Keeneland September fray in Book 2 of the iconic sale, Lane's End's Bill Farish sat down with the TDN's Lucas Marquardt to discuss the stallion's prospects.
LM: When Twirling Candy first went to stud, he got about 90 mares in his first year. Can you talk about his progression from then to now and the impact you're seeing on the racetrack?
BF: His first big crop, they're 2-year-olds this year, at a stud fee of $10,000. So, what he's doing now is with mares in that $10,000 breeding range. We're very optimistic. His stud fee has crept up in the last two years and he stood for $25,000 this year and got over 140 mares, so the market seems to really like the Twirling Candies. They're bigger, scopier yearlings than his sire, Candy Ride, tends to get.
LM: You mentioned the impact of Candy Ride's success. When Twirling Candy first came to stud, Candy Ride wasn't quite what he is now, with champion Gun Runner carrying the banner last year. Has that become a selling point of sorts for Twirling Candy?
BF: Yeah, definitely. As Candy Ride has proven to be now, he's in line to be a two-time champion active sire. He's had two great years, back-to-back, and has really proven himself to be a world-class stallion. Now getting some sons that are going to stud and doing well, Candy Ride is nothing but a positive for him.
LM: Finley'sluckycharm has been a great success story for Twirling Candy on the racetrack. She recently won her first Grade I in the Ballerina and she has been performing at a high level for a prolonged period of time. Can you discuss his ability to get that kind of elite horse, and how the market responds to that?
BF: Any stallion like him needs to get the top-tier horse and he's been doing that with Finley'sluckycharm and [three-time GSW] Danzing Candy, and now you're starting to see some of these 2-year-olds come out and run really impressive numbers first time out. That's the kind of stallion we think he is–the kind of stallion we think he can get to be. We think he's very versatile. He can get you sprinters like 'Finley,' he can get you horses that go a route of ground as well. It's kind of a matter of what you want to breed to him.
LM: And how about his 2-year-old Trophy Chaser? He had a fantastic debut at Gulfstream Aug. 25, earning the highest Beyer Speed Figure by any juvenile this year.
BF: It was a big weekend of racing, so it might have gotten a little bit lost in all the hype from the weekend, but we were kind of waiting on the race. We wanted to see, because we had heard some buzz about the horse and he obviously went off as a big favorite. To run off the screen the way he did, it's hard to tell how good he is, but it's certainly very encouraging to see a 2-year-old second-time starter run the way he did. It's exciting and when your stallion is producing like that, every one of those that comes along just adds to his appeal.
LM: What have you heard about his latest crop of yearlings going into the Keeneland September Sale? Is there a fair amount of buzz?
BF: He's got around 60 yearlings going to September and I think they're going to represent [him well]. Everybody is going to be all over the big group in Book 1, and all the top sire power that's represented in Book 1. But I think with horses like Twirling Candy in Book 2, 3 and 4–he's going to have a heck of a sale. There are a lot of exciting yearlings that we've seen around, but also that we've heard about. I think he's going to represent a really good value in that sort of second tier of the market.