Cotton Blossom first caught the nation's eye last summer at Saratoga when she took that track's Schuylerville Stakes (gr. III). She followed that up with a second in the Spinaway (gr. I) at Saratoga, a troubled fourth in the Darley Alcibiades (gr. II) at Keeneland, then a solid third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) at Churchill Downs.
Off her win at Tampa Bay the bay daughter of Broken Vow now sports a record of three wins from six starts and earnings of $463,380. Trainer Todd Pletcher saddled Ready To Please to take the 2006 Fantasy and will put his brilliant stable jockey John Velazquez aboard on Friday in a bid to become the first trainer to win the Fantasy in back-to-back years.
Time's Mistress, representing trainer D. Wayne Lukas, earned her first stakes score when she romped by 4 3/4 lengths in the Honeybee.
In the silks of owner Charles Kidder the chestnut daughter of Mr. Greeley had finished third in both the Dixie Belle and Martha Washington in the early stages of the meet, but finished full of run in a much improved effort in the Honeybee. John Jacinto, who piloted her to the Honeybee win, will once again be aboard in the Fantasy.
Southern California trainer Craig Dollase makes a rare Oaklawn appearance on Friday when he saddles J. Paul Reddam's Cash Included.
The daughter of Include followed up a fourth in the Las Virgenes (gr. I) at Santa Anita with a solid third in the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I), both behind the spectacular Rags to Riches. The Fantasy Stakes has been kind to West Coast-based fillies in the past. Cash Included, who will be ridden by Alex Solis, could become the next Fantasy darling from California.
$250,000 Fantasy Stakes (gr. II, Race 9, 5:11 p.m.), 3-Year-Old Fillies, 1 1/16 Miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. High Heels (KY), 117, Joe M. Johnson
2. Cotton Blossom (KY), 121, John R. Velazquez
3. Cash Included (KY), 121, Alex O. Solis
4. Time's Mistress (KY), 121, John Jacinto
5. Swift Temper (KY), 117, Calvin H. Borel
6. Jay's Princess (KY), 117, Larry J. Sterling, Jr.
7. Tensas Yucatan (LA), 117, Jesse M. Campbell
8. Devil House (KY), 121, Terry J. Thompson