Justify walking

Valentine Candy Continues Winning Ways in Ozark Stakes

It was another stakes winning weekend for a Justify runner when Valentine Candy (3c Justify x Taste Like Candy, by Candy ride) earned his third straight stakes victory in the Ozark Stakes.

Making his 2024 debut in the six furlong Oaklawn Park race, the chestnut was the first out of the gate before having to settle for third down the backstretch when a pair of runners quickly passed him to duel in the front. Valentine Candy was never far behind as he raced three paths wide at the hip of the second placed runner.

The race into the stretch looked to be a three-horse affair but by the final furlong, Valentine Candy made it a one horse race when romping to a 2 ½ length win as the second choice.

It was the fourth win in seven starts for Valentine Candy, who ended 2023 with victories in the Advent Stakes and Renaissance Stakes after finishing third in the Bowman Mill Stakes.

The colt is trained by Steve Asmussen for William and Corinne Heiligbrodt, Jackpot Farm, Whispering Oaks Farm, and Coteau Grove Garms and was bred by Pine Creek LP.

He is the second foal out of Grade I placed Taste Like Candy, a half-sister to the stakes winning Southern Success. Also a half-sister to the dam of American Pharoah’s stakes-placed Prince of Pharoahs, their dam is a half-sister to multiple Grade I winner Affirmed Success.

Munnings’ Grade III winning Wondrwherecraigis is also under Valentine Candy’s third dam.

This is the second stakes winner of the year for Justify, who leads all third crop sires with two stakes winners, six stakes performers and five graded stakes performers in 2024. That follows a 2023 where he was a leading juvenile sire and saw three of his 2-year-olds crowned champions.