Mr. Fantasy, winner of last year’s Withers Stakes (gr. III) for West Point Thoroughbreds, Donald Brooks, and Nick Cammarano, makes his comeback after a nearly 11-month layoff March 18 in an optional claimer at Gulfstream Park.
After winning Aqueduct’s Withers last April, Mr. Fantasy seemed to be on his way to becoming a 3-year-old star and was being pointed to the Preakness Stakes (gr. I). But the son of E Dubai
, who finished third in the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) in his lone defeat from four starts, was later diagnosed with an ankle chip that ended his campaign. He had surgery to repair the injury and was rehabilitated slowly before his return to the racetrack.
Bred in New York by Corra Cavalo, Mr. Fantasy has had nine published works this season, including his final tune-up March 14 when clocking four furlongs in :48.80 at Palm Meadows. He is now trained by Michael Hushion, who takes over for Kiaran McLaughlin. Ramon Dominguez will fly in for the mount. The bay colt faces six rivals in the six-furlong contest and is the 9-5 morning line favorite.
"He's training great. We're anxious to see him race again," said West Point president Terry Finley. "We could have brought him back in November for a January return, but being a New York-bred, there was no rush at that time of year.
"Everything has gone according to plan. He's gotten bigger and stronger. He's the soundest horse we have and obviously very talented. Now we'll just hold our breath and hope for the best."
Finley said the long-term goal for Mr. Fantasy is the $500,000 Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) on Memorial Day at Belmont Park, a race he was scratched out of last year.
This will be Mr. Fantasy’s first start away from Aqueduct. Finley said he would run regardless of the weather at Gulfstream, which has seen significant rain recently.