Rockys Candy Shop leads qualifiers for Bertram Memorial

Rockys Candy Shop and Jose Beltran turned in another impressive race Saturday, Sept. 15 to top 20 horses entered in the trials of the Sterlie Bertram Memorial Stakes. The three-year-old son of Fantastic Corona Jr stopped the timer in :19.697 seconds.

Rockys Candy Shop and Jose Beltran return to the winner’s circle earlier this season following one of their wins at Indiana Grand. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Starting from post two, Rockys Candy Shop and Beltran veered in slightly at the start but quickly corrected their path and got down to business. The gelding got the lead on the inside and coasted to the wire under a hand ride by Beltran for the win by one-half length over Beach Treat and Fernando Fonseca-Soto, who was a winner of a tight photo by a nose over Apollitical Regard and L. D. Martinez.

As the favorite of the field, Rockys Candy Shop paid $3.40, $2.60 and $2.20 across the board. He earned his seventh career trip to the winner’s circle and his fifth in six starts for 2018. He is owned by Lance Finlinson and trained by Indiana Grand’s all-time leading trainer Randy Smith.

“He didn’t get the sharpest break but he’s a determined horse,” said Smith. “He has a big heart and he knows where the finish line is.”

Rockys Candy Shop has represented his family well this season. The well-bred gelding’s sister from the same family, Jess Shantastic, was recently the quickest qualifier in the La Fiesta Derby at The Downs in Albuquerque. The Fantastic Corona Jr. filly out of Jess Candy, a sister to Jesses Candy, Rockys Candy Shop’s dam, is still owned by breeder Stanley Forbes of Texas.

“All credit goes to God,” said Finlinson, who owns and operates The Apparel Company with his wife, Tammy. “And, Randy and Jose get a lot of the credit too. This horse ran almost the same time as Stinkin Rich tonight. He’s a nice horse, but it takes a good trainer and jockey to do that.”

Be Afraid and Sergio Ramirez were winners in the second division of the Sterlie Bertram Memorial trials, scoring the second fastest time in the event heading into the final Saturday, Sept. 29. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

The second trial produced the second fastest sophomore on the Bertram Final list as Be Afraid and Sergio Ramirez rallied to the lead from the start and maintained that position all the way to the wire from post position eight. Beach Mercedes and Rodney Prescott closed well for second over HQH Fancy Pants and Aron Hunt for third. The time of the 400-yard dash was :19.741 seconds.

It was the second win in three starts for Be Afraid this season. Carlos Ramo owns the gelded son of Tac It Like A Man and Ricardo Martinez trains.

The final field for the Sterlie Bertram Memorial Stakes final, slated for Saturday, Sept. 29, with jockey and time in post position order includes: Rockys Candy Shop (Jose Beltran, :19.697); Be Afraid (Sergio Ramirez, :19.741); Beach Treat (Fernando Fonseca-Soto, :19.773); Apollitical Regard (L.D. Martinez, :19.774); Kitty Sixup (Cesar Esqueda, :19.882); Beach Mercedes (Rodney Prescott, :19.902); Jessalilsecret (Rodney Prescott, :19.982); HF Don’t Tempt Me (Luis Guerrero, :20.043); Pappa Sleeps N Silk (Ruben Cacho, :20.065); and HQH Fancy Pants (Aron Hunt, :20.082). Trainer Smith will saddle three in the final (Rockys Candy Shop, Beach Mercedes and Jessalilsecret).