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Fantasy Stakes Deep in Black-Type Potential

Several contenders are well-poised to earn graded stakes status.

Spooky Woods won't face challengers with the stature of graded stakes winners Unique Bella and Abel Tasman in the April 14 Fantasy Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park, but the 12-horse field is still plenty deep.

West Point Thoroughbreds and Edwin Barker's 3-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper —Winter Forest, by Forestry, ran third in her last start behind three-time graded stakes winner Unique Bella and grade 1 winner Abel Tasman in the March 4 Santa Ysabel Stakes (G3). And though finishing 10 1/4 lengths behind the winner, Spook Woods was more than four lengths ahead of the rest of the field.

Now the $250,000 2016 Barretts March purchase takes another shot at earning graded black type in the $400,000 1 1/16-mile race for sophomore fillies. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Spooky Woods was bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings.

"We had a pretty good sense the winner of the (grade 1) Santa Anita Oaks (Paradise Woods) was a pretty good filly so we decided to take our chances at Oaklawn," said Terry Finley, president of West Point Thoroughbreds. "She is part of a great program with Jerry, and she has always had a great mind, so we didn't feel shipping would be an issue. So far we're happy with how things are shaping up."

Among the challengers aiming to spoil any victory party for Spooky Woods will be multiple stakes winner Chanel's Legacy and graded-placed winners Benner Island and Vexatious, who got the best of Spooky Woods in a maiden special weight test at Del Mar back in November.

Chanel's Legacy has the advantage of getting both her stakes wins this year at Oaklawn, having taken the Jan. 21 Dixie Belle Stakes and the Feb. 11 Martha Washington Stakes both by 2 1/2 lengths. The daughter of Dominus —Chanel Number Mine, by Value Plus, is a homebred racing for H. Allen Poindexter. The 121-pound co-highweight is trained by Lynn Chleborad.

Shortleaf Stable's Benner Island is still stakes-placed but she finished a good second in the March 11 Honeybee Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn. She headed the winner It Tiz Well in the stretch but got out-kicked to finish a length behind at the wire. Shortleaf's owner John Ed Anthony bought the daughter of Speightstown —Spacy Tracy, by Awesome Again , for $200,000 as a yearling through the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale. The filly, bred in Kentucky by Mercedes Stable, has won twice and finished second twice out of six starts. She has earned the only three-digit Equibase Speed Figure in the field, getting a 102 for her effort in the Honeybee. Benner Island is trained by Brad Cox.

Vexatious is only other graded-stakes entrant, coming into the Fantasy off a third in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) behind Farrell and Wicked Lick. Brad Kelley's Calumet Farm races the filly by Giant's Causeway Dream of Summer, by Siberian Summer, who is trained by Neil Drysdale. She is one of five fillies in the field who have either won or placed in their previous three starts. The others include Spooky Woods, the other co-highweight Kell Paso, Dutch Parrot, and Torrent

Both Vexatious and Kell Paso have not finished off the board in their last four starts. William Goode's Kell Paso, by Divine Park—Listen to Libby, by Indian Charlie, broke her maiden at first asking Nov. 29 at Zia Park and won the black-type El Paso Times Stakes in her second start. She comes into the Fantasy off a neck loss to Ghalia in the Sunland Park Oaks.

Entries: Fantasy S. (G3)

Oaklawn Park, Friday, April 14, 2017, Race 8

  • Grade III
  • 1 1/16m
  • Dirt
  • $400,000
  • 3 yo Fillies
  • 4:42 PM (local)
11Chanel's Legacy (IA)Alex Birzer121Lynn Chleborad8/1
22My Sweet Stella (KY)Ramon A. Vazquez117D. Wayne Lukas20/1
33Benner Island (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateRicardo Santana, Jr.117Brad H. Cox5/2
44Drinks On Broadway (FL)Joe M. Johnson117Gary G. Hartlage30/1
55Vexatious (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateKent J. Desormeaux117Neil D. Drysdale7/2
66Kell Paso (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJoseph Rocco, Jr.121Greg Green6/1
77Dutch Parrot (AR)Calvin H. Borel117William B. Van Meter15/1
88Conquest Bandido (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateChanning Hill117Wayne M. Catalano15/1
99Torrent (KY)Jose L. Ortiz117Ron Moquett10/1
1010Spooky Woods (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateFlavien Prat117Jerry Hollendorfer4/1
1111Conquest Slayer (PA)Keeneland Sales GraduateJorge Carreno117Miguel L. Hernandez50/1
1212Ever So Clever (KY)Luis Contreras117Steven M. Asmussen20/1