ARCADIA, Calif. — Ian Wilkes should be focused on the fact that he is days away from saddling his first ever Breeders' Cup starter.
Instead, the trainer is having to cope with the fact that even if Capt. Candyman Can wins the $2 million Sprint, the winner's circle gathering will have a somber tinge.
This past Saturday dealt Wilkes an unexpected blow when Dr. Joseph Rauch, co-owner and breeder of Capt. Candyman Can, died at the age of 66.
Rauch owned the bay gelding along with David Zell, and the two had bred the son of Candy Ride along with Suzi Shoemaker of Lantern Hill Farm.
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"He was having so much fun with this horse and was looking very forward to running in the Breeders' Cup," Wilkes said Monday after Capt. Candyman Can arrived at Santa Anita Park. "What makes it so hard is that Mr. Rauch wasn't just a client, he was a friend."
A winner of six of 11 career starts, Capt. Candyman Can began the year as a contender on the Triple Crown trail following his win in the Grade II Hutcheson, but he has been most successful in the sprinting ranks.
In August, he got his first Grade I win when Vineyard Haven was disqualified in the King's Bishop.
"We've had horses for 40 years, and I'm treasuring every moment with him," Dr. Rauch told the Herald-Leader in February while discussing his star gelding. "He's something that comes along once in a lifetime."
Mine That Bird's final work
Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird put in his final workout in preparation for Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic, covering 5 furlongs in 1:012⁄5 Monday with Joe Talamo up.
"He worked super, really super," trainer Chip Woolley said. "I was looking for 1:02, but it was just what we wanted. He was just gliding out there."
Mine That Bird was sixth in the Grade I Goodwood Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 10, but Woolley says the track is now playing more to the gelding's favor.
"What really helped him is, they've tightened the track," he said. "It's really helped him fire off the ground."
Fellow Classic contenders Richard's Kid and Colonel John also worked Monday. Richard's Kid, winner of the Grade I Pacific Classic, covered 4 furlongs in :471⁄5, and Colonel John went 5 furlongs in :594⁄5.
Kodiak Kowboy out of Sprint
Grade I winner Kodiak Kowboy was declared out of the Breeders' Cup Sprint after an endoscopic examination discovered mucus in his lungs following a 4-furlong work in :521⁄5 on Monday.
"He worked well but scoped bad," said Scott Blasi, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen. "He has to go on antibiotics and will be unable to run this Saturday."
Kodiak Kowboy was coming off a win in the Grade I Vosburgh at Belmont on Oct. 3. Filly and Mare Sprint contender Allicansayis Wow was also declared out of the Breeders' Cup Monday after sustaining a suspensory injury following a half-mile work in :471⁄5 Sunday morning.