May 19, 2024

Sassy Sienna noses out Wonder Gadot in Fantasy

Sassy Sienna (right) under Gary Stevens just gets the best of Wonder Gadot (left) and jockey David Cabrera in Oaklawn Park's Fantasy Stakes (G3) on Friday, April 13, 2018 (c) Oaklawn Park/Coady Photography

In Monomoy Girl, trainer Brad Cox already had one of the betting favorites in next month’s Kentucky Oaks (G1). On Friday, the high-percentage conditioner saddled Sassy Sienna to an upset victory in the $400,000 Fantasy (G3) at Oaklawn Park, which earned the daughter of Midshipman a spot in the Oaks field herself at Churchill Downs on May 4.

Contested on a sealed surface that would be downgraded from fast to good after the race’s conclusion, the Fantasy awarded Oaks qualifying points of 100-40-20-10 to the top four finishers. Sent away at 11-1 following placings in the Martha Washington and Honeybee (G3) earlier in the meet, Sassy Sienna was a clear second down the backside as 7-5 favorite Amy’s Challenge, as she had done in the Honeybee, set a fast pace she couldn’t ultimately sustain.

In front through splits of :22.87, :45.88, and 1:10.52, Amy’s Challenge was still going well in upper stretch as Sassy Sienna, joined by second choice Wonder Gadot at the quarter pole, raced in tandem toward the favorite. By mid-stretch, though, Amy’s Challenge was a spent force. In between rivals, Sassy Sienna fought back gamely inside Wonder Gadot to the wire and got her nose in front under Gary Stevens in a time of 1:45.63.

Owned by Medallion Racing and Jerry McClanahan, Sassy Sienna paid $25. Wonder Gadot, second or third four times since taking the Demoiselle (G2) in December, earned 40 Oaks qualifying points, while the distance-challenged Amy’s Challenge held third. Honeybee winner Cosmic Burst was fourth in the field of eight.

“She grinded it out. She’s a tough filly and showed up today,” Cox said. “It’s a good spot to be in (with regard to the Oaks). We have two fillies worthy of being there.”

A debut winner on the turf at Indiana Grand last July, Sassy Sienna was subsequently third in the $100,000 P.G. Johnson on turf at Saratoga, fourth in the Alcibiades (G1), second in a Churchill allowance, and fifth to Cosmic Burst in the $100,000 Trapeze at Remington Park. She kicked off her sophomore season with a 9 1/2-length allowance win at Oaklawn on January 15, then third to that rival in the Honeybee following a second in the Martha Washington. Her cumulative record now reads 9-3-2-2, $394,600.

Bred in Kentucky by Haymarket Farm, Sassy Sienna was a $65,000 Keeneland September yearling. She was reared by Tap for Gold, a Pleasant Tap mare also responsible for the stakes-placed Newton John, Spina, and Ruth and Neva. Sassy Sienna’s second dam was the Grade 2-winning juvenile Golden Reef.