With expected favorite On Fire Baby skipping the race, Hall of Fame trainers Bob Baffert, Todd Pletcher, and Bill Mott have entered some improving fillies in the $300,000 Fantasy Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park April 11.
Trainer Gary Hartlage opted to bypass the Fantasy with Honeybee Stakes (gr. III) winner On Fire Baby and will train the filly up to the May 4 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). The decision creates a opportunity for someone else to step up for the Oaks as well.
Eight were entered in the 1 1/16-mile Fantasy, Oaklawn's championship race for 3-year-old fillies. it goes as the ninth race on the mid-week program with an expected post of 5:11 p.m. CDT.
Leading the local contingent is Honeybee runner-up Amie's Dini, winner of Oaklawn's Martha Washington Stakes in February.
Amie's Dini finished two lengths behind On Fire Baby in the March 10 Honeybee in a game try after setting the pace under pressure to mid-stretch in the 1 1/16-mile race. Trained by Ron Moquett for owners Mike Walker and Lou Sutterfield, the daughter of Bandini will break from the far outside with Jon Court aboard once again.
Amie's Dini has not been worse than third in six lifetime starts while winning three times.
Michael Tabor's Wait Til Dawn leads the invasion of shippers in the Fantasy for Pletcher. The daughter of Giant's Causeway broke her maiden at Gulfstream Park Feb. 5 in her fourth start. She came back to score a half-length victory in the Suncoast Stakes as the 6-5 favorite March 10 at Tampa Bay Downs.
She and Amie's Dini are the only stakes winners in the field. Both carry top weight of 121 pounds, four more than each of their opponents.
Javier Castellano, who got familiar with Wait Til Dawn in the Suncoast, has the return call for Pletcher, who won the Fantasy in 2006 with Ready to Please.
Mamma Kimbo, owned by John Fort's Peachtree Stable, was a sharp maiden debut winner by 5 1/4 lengths at Santa Anita Park Feb. 18. The daughter of Discreet Cat has not raced since while training well in Southern California for her return.
Recent Irish import Jemima's Pearl has raced once in the United States, taking a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming event by a nose with a late surge March 9 at Santa Anita. The Kentucky-bred Distorted Humor miss, owned by Gillian S. Campbell, R Group Management, and Greenwood Lodge Farm, broke her maiden in her fourth start in Ireland.
Mike Smith, who won last year's Fantasy for the first time aboard Joyful Victory, has the mount on Mamma Kimbo, who starts from the rail. Baffert tabbed Joe Talamo for Jemima's Pearl.
Mott entered Off Limits, making her third start of the year for WinStar Farm. The Include filly rallied to finish second in Aqueduct's inner-track Busher Stakes last out Feb. 25, missing by a head after ducking from the whip.
She will race with blinkers for the first time. Off Limits is also entered in the Comely Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct.
Moquett also entered the speedy Livi Makenzie, an allowance/optional claiming winner at six furlongs at Oaklawn Feb. 25. The Macho Uno filly is making her stakes debut for owner B J D Thoroughbreds and will be ridden by Greta Kuntzweiler.
$300,000 Fantasy Stakes (gr. II, Race 9, 5:11 p.m.), 3YO Fillies, 1 1/16 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Mamma Kimbo (KY), M E Smith, 117, B Baffert
2. Wait Til Dawn (KY), J Castellano, 121, T A Pletcher
3. Kittty Kat Karly (KY), L S Quinonez, 117, S Hobby
4. Livi Makenzie (KY), G Kuntzweiler, 117, R Moquett
5. Jemima's Pearl (KY), J Talamo, 117, B Baffert
6. Off Limits (KY), J Alvarado, 117, W I Mott
7. Illegally Blonde (KY), T J Thompson, 117, K G McPeek
8. Amie's Dini (KY), J K Court, 121, R Moquett
Blinkers On: Off Limits