Fantastic Style rolls to victory in the Great Lady M Stakes.

Fantastic Style rolls to victory in the Great Lady M Stakes.

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Fantastic Style Overwhelms Great Lady M Field

Fantastic Style secures first graded stakes win in Great Lady M.

Kaleem Shah's Fantastic Style also has plenty of substance.

After rating just behind dueling stakes-winning front-runners Amaranth and Sunday Rules, Fantastic Style took command coming out of the turn and then drew off to an easy victory in the $200,000 Great Lady M Stakes (gr. II) Saturday, July 11 at Los Alamitos Race Course.

While not pressed in the stretch of her 3 1/2-length score, Fantastic Style came close to the track record in completing the 6 1/2-furlong sprint for fillies and mares in 1:14.78, just 0.18 seconds off the track record set by Patriots Rule in winning last year's E.B. Johnston Stakes. 

Trained by Bob Baffert, Fantastic Style proved to be well up to the challenge of the Great Lady M, which was the 3-year-old Harlan's Holiday filly's first start against older horses and second try in a graded stakes. She entered off a dominating win against other 3-year-old fillies in the seven-furlong Angels Flight Stakes May 16 at Santa Anita Park.

"I'm not much of a handicapper, but (trainer) Bob (Baffert) is a very astute one and he felt this was the right spot for her," Shah said. "She ran well today."

Before Fantastic Style's strong finish, three-time stakes winner Amaranth and Sunday Rules, a two-time winner of California-bred stakes who entered undefeated in five career starts, put on their own show. Highland Yard's Amaranth broke from the rail under William Antongeorgi III and completed a quarter mile in :21.42 and a half-mile in :44.04 while shadowed by Sunday Rules, who had never trailed at any point of call in her five previous races.

Sunday Rules and Tyler Baze, sent off the 6-5 favorite, moved to the lead just after a half-mile but Fantastic Style would soon unleash her best for Rafael Bejarano, taking command in early stretch and was never threatened late.

"My filly has speed, but I didn't want to give her too much to do early," Bejarano said. "When I saw (Amaranth and Sunday Rules) dueling up front, I just let her settle and she gave me a real nice finish.''

After finishing second in her maiden special weight debut in December, Fantastic Style has won four of five starts with that one loss coming in a third-place finish in the Adena Springs Beaumont Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland. That experience could come in handy with this year's Breeders' Cup World Championships at Keeneland.

Fantastic Style paid $7 to win, $4.60 to place, and $3.40 to show. Grade II winner Living The Life rallied under Mike Smith to finish second, paying $7.40 to place and $4.60 to show. Sunday Rules held third and returned $2.80.

Baffert has won three of the past five editions of the Great Lady M, also teaming with Bejarano in 2013 to win the race with Book Review when it was known as the A Gleam Handicap and contested at seven furlongs at Hollywood Park.

Bred in Kentucky by Charles Kidder, Nancy Cole, and E. Voute, Fantastic Style is out of the winning Mr. Greeley mare Ruby Summer, who has produced four other winners.

Donato Lanni, agent, purchased Fantastic Style for $525,000 at the 2014 Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. spring sale of 2-year-olds in training from the consignment of Eisaman Equine, agent.