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Crown of Thorns reels in G2 Mervyn LeRoy

Sunday, May 08, 2011
B. Wayne Hughes' Spendthrift Farm LLC's Crown of Thorns upset Sidney's Candy in the $147,000 Mervyn LeRoy H. (G2) May 7 at Hollywood Park, giving the very talented but hard-luck 6-year-old his first stakes win since the 2008 Robert B. Lewis S. (G2) at Santa Anita.

Crown of Thorns basically stalked the 2-5 favorite Sidney's Candy for the first six furlongs, engaged the leader on the second turn, then finally gained the lead in deep stretch to win by 1 1/4-lengths. Completing the 1 1/16 miles over Cushion track in 1:42.73, Crown of Thorns pushed his earnings to $777,080. He is 3-4-1 in 10 lifetime outings. His 101 Beyer Speed Figure in the LeRoy was his fifth triple-digit number of his career.

The win was the fourth in the LeRoy, which is the first major prep for the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup July 9, for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella.

"It was pretty much as you would have figured it on paper," said Mandella. "(Sidney’s Candy) looked like he'd be on an easy lead unless somebody teased him a little bit. That’s kind of what we had in mind, so he wouldn't think he was out there by himself.

"I've always loved this horse. He's a very good horse. We always thought he would be better going long. Just circumstances. He's fast enough to sprint and he can run on turf or anything we want, but I think two turns is better for him. He's really good right now."
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