Three Questions: John Sadler

The top Californian trainer saddles Sidney’s Candy as one of the leading fancies for the 136th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs today


1. How did you react when drawn in the dreaded outside post, stall 20?


Initially, I felt like the kid who gets a lump of coal from Santa in his Christmas stocking. It took me a while to digest it.

But in the end, what are you going to do? It's racing – deal with it. You get what you get, and you do the best you can with it. I'm thinking about having a pin made up I can wear, saying: "Yes, I know Big Brown [2008] won out of the 20 hole." About 20 people have told me that one! I don't stress about things I can't control. I'll get together with my rider, and we'll come up with a strategy. I think we're going to be fine.

2. Having so far run only on California's synthetic surfaces, is Sidney's Candy flying the flag for what remains a controversial new discipline in American racing?

We have great riders in California. We've great trainers. And we've great horses. Zenyatta can run on broken glass. The surface we race on, sometimes it's a little controversial. But a good horse is still a good horse. And a California product, no matter what, is a good product. If you look at trainers like [John] Sheriffs and [Bob] Baffert, myself, Doug O'Neill, those guys, they're shipping around the country and winning big races everywhere they go.

3. His time in the Santa Anita Derby is the fastest in the field. How would you expect that to translate to dirt?

I would suspect that he'd run faster on dirt. Having trained so much on synthetics, I have certain horses that I feel are better on that. This horse here is a serious racehorse. So I'm not really overly concerned about the surface.

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