Fantastic Pick, the longest shot in the field at 22-1, edged pacesetter Blue Panis after an eighth of a mile long battle to win the $150,000 Oak Tree Derby (gr. IIT) (VIDEO) at Hollywood Park Oct. 16 and record his first career stakes win.
Fantastic Pick, bred in Great Britain and initially campaigned there, ran the 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:48.51 to win by a head for owners Jim Ford, Robert Maycock, and Ken Smole. The victory, under jockey Corey Nakatani, was the gelding’s third in his last four starts--all since adding blinkers. Overall, Fantastic Pick ( Fantastic Light--Umlilo, by Mtoto) has captured five of 15 races and earned $191,773.
In a race devoid of pace, Blue Panis, a French-bred making his United States debut, made the lead with Fantastic Pick his closest pursuer. In his first start beyond a mile, Blue Panis got away with slow fractions (24.22, 49.21, and 1:13.24) and fought hard to the finish but had to settle for second.
"In the stretch, I knew it was going to be a two-horse race,” Nakatani said. “I was wanting to go inside that horse (Blue Panis) because he's from Europe, and they're more comfortable down on the inside. I was just trying to bide my time as long as I could because I wanted somebody to run with me to keep him focused. Jamie gave me some good insight into the horse, and we've been pretty lucky together."
Kid Edward, the 5-2 second choice, finished a half-length behind Blue Panis in third, followed by Sebastian Flyte, Haimish Hy, Jairzinho, Royal F J, and Make Music for Me, the 2-1 choice in his first race since he was unplaced in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 5, completing the order of finish.
Fantastic Pick, who has been the betting favorite only once in eight starts in this country, returned $46.20, $16.80, and $9.40. Blue Panis rewarded his backers with $7.00 and $4.20.Kid Edward paid $3.60.