Candy Ball Remains Perfect on Turf With Fresa Stakes Win at Lone Star

(July 15, 2006) - Candy Ball remained perfect on the grass with a convincing two-length victory over D Fine Okie in Saturday's $40,000 Fresa Stakes before a crowd of 13,134 at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas. The 4-year-old Lemon Drop Kid filly collected her first stakes win and fourth straight victory since switching to the turf in April.

Candy Ball, ridden by Jeffery Burningham and carrying 122 pounds, ran 7 1/2 furlongs on turf in 1:40.96. She paid $9.60, $4.60 and $3.40 to win as the 7-2 third betting choice. Mild 3-1 favorite My Misty Princess was another 1 1/2 lengths behind D Fine Oke in third.

In the early stages of the race, Candy Ball was patiently positioned in seventh in the field of 10 fillies and mares before staging a four-wide rally on the final turn.

Overall, Candy Ball has won five of nine starts and $98,580 for Louisiana-based trainer Andy Leggio Jr. and Tom and Sue Ball's Rancho Fresa Inc. The Balls campaigned Fresa, the $427,633-earner for which the race is named.

"Andy Leggio and his crew have done a really good job with this filly and Jeffrey really rides her perfect," Tom Ball said. "We bought her [for $12,000] at [the 2003] Keeneland [September yearling sale] and she had a little scar on a knee. I knew if I gave her time, it wouldn't bother her; it's never bothered her. This filly, we didn't touch her until she was three and she's really been good for us."


Cliff Berry rode four winners at Lone Star Park on Saturday, bringing his season total to 95. The 43-year-old veteran has a comfortable 20-win lead over Quincy Hamilton in pursuit of his second straight Lone Star riding title.

Berry enters the final five days of the meeting just seven wins shy of Corey Lanerie's 1999 single season record of 102 victories. Lanerie set the mark during a 73-day meeting. This year's Spring Thoroughbred Season is 66 dates and concludes Sunday, July 23.

This was the eighth time this season that Berry had won at least four races on a program. He won five races on April 15 and June 9.

Berry won Saturday's third race aboard Wild Momie ($11.40), the fourth on Mancini Martini ($4.20), the sixth with Single Sox ($6.60) and the seventh on Fur Elise ($16.60). The native of Joplin, Mo. has four scheduled mounts Sunday, including three morning line favorites.

Fur Elise gave Cody Autrey his 49th victory this season and placed him in a tie for second in the trainer standings with Bret Calhoun. Both are trying to upend Steve Asmussen, who tops the horsemen with 55 victories but is currently serving a suspension that will force him to miss the remainder of the season.

Fur Elise also padded the lead in the owner standings for Rockwall, Texas residents Jerry and Sandy Heflin. It was the couple's 17th trip to the Lone Star winner's circle - three more than four-time local champ Tom Durant.

Also on Saturday, there was a meet-high 15-way shake for 4-year-old filly Sleek Flyer, who raced with a $4,000 claiming tag. The three-time winner at the meet finished fourth as a 6-5 favorite and now goes to Arkansas-based owner/trainer Clay Loetscher.

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