Sugar Shock atoned for her disqualification in the Honeybee Stakes (gr. III) a month earlier with a gate-to-wire win in the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (gr. III) April 5 at Oaklawn Park (VIDEO).
The half-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile Fantasy ensures On Cloud Nine's 3-year-old filly by Candy Ride a starting spot in the Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) May 2 at Churchill Downs. Winning trainer Doug Anderson was certainly leaning that way afterward.
"We're just ecstatic," he said. "She's such a joy to be around. It sure is a possibility that she'll go to the Kentucky Oaks. We'll see how she comes out of this."
With Channing Hill aboard, Sugar Shock went directly to the front from her rail starting slot, leading Kiss Moon while rating nicely along the inside through quarter mile splits of :23.25, :46.99, and 1:11.65. Those two were never far apart as Kiss Moon and Terry Thompson drew to within a head of the pacesetter late on the far turn.
But Sugar Shock continued to fight on as they battled throughout the homestretch, gaining a half-length advantage at the furlong marker and holding sway to the wire as the 3-1 second choice in the field of eight.
"She broke so sharp, but I was hoping she would turn it off a little down the backside," said Hill, who has ridden Sugar Shock in all of her races. "But, she was always comfortable. Once she turned into stretch I felt her take a few deep breaths and I knew she'd be tough from there. I was glad Terry's horse (Kiss Moon) was there to keep us honest and that we made the decision at the finish and not the stewards."
"I had everything my way, I just couldn't get to her," Thompson said of the runner-up.
The final time was 1:43.87 on a fast track.
Euphrosyne, who was elevated to first in Oaklawn's March 8 Honeybee when original winner Sugar Shock was disqualified to second for lugging out, settled for third this time. She finished four lengths behind the winner. Please Explain, the slight 5-2 favorite over Sugar Shock, was no factor while finishing seventh.
Sugar Shock heads into the Kentucky Oaks with three wins from her past four starts, the only blemish coming in the DQ. Overall, she has won three of six starts with earnings of $343,130 after collecting $240,000 for the Fantasy win.
The chestnut filly out of the unraced Distorted Humor mare Enthusiastically was bred in Kentucky by Pam and Martin Wygod and sold for $20,000 as a 2012 Keeneland September yearling.
Carrying 117 pounds, Sugar Shock paid $8.20, $4.60, and $3.20 while keying a $107 exacta with 13-1 shot Kiss Moon, who returned $11.80 and $6.80. Euphrosyne paid $3.80 to show.
Stopchargingmaria, winner of the Tempted (gr. III) and Demoiselle (gr. II) stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack last fall, was one-paced in fourth after a slow start, and she was followed by Courageous Julie, Mufajaah, Please Explain, and Haveyougoneaway.