In the absence of Secret Oath, who opted to tackle the boys in the Arkansas Derby (G1), Saturday’s $600,000 Fantasy (G3) has become wide open. Nine fillies have assembled from various circuits for the 1 1/16-mile affair, worth Kentucky Oaks (G1) points on the 100-40-20-10 scale.
Fantasy (G3) – Race 10 (6:16 p.m. ET)
Eda, still trained by Bob Baffert after the transfer of several high-profile stablemates, brings a four-race winning streak from her Southern California base. After daylight scores sprinting in the Anoakia S. and Desi Arnaz S., the Baoma Corp. runner showed grit to prevail in the Starlet (G1) and Santa Ysabel (G3) at this 1 1/16-mile trip. Eda remains ineligible for Oaks points since Baffert is suspended by Churchill Downs Inc., but the Munnings filly will make her presence felt. John Velazquez guides the pace player from post 5.
Tuesday afternoon update: Eda will be scratched after coming down with a fever, according to Daily Racing Form’s Mary Rampellini.
Also likely to flash speed just to her inside is New York shipper Magic Circle, now switched to Steve Asmussen. Hitherto with Rudy Rodriguez, the Kantharos filly scored her signature win in the Jan. 23 Busanda S. Magic Circle has placed in a trio of stakes, as the runner-up in the Tempted S. and third in both the Demoiselle (G2) and Busher in her latest on Mar. 5. She gets a new rider in Jose Lezcano.
Golden Rod (G2) heroine Dream Lith and runner-up Yuugiri both look to move forward off comeback losses. Dream Lith was a non-threatening sixth in the Feb. 19 Rachel Alexandra (G2) at Fair Grounds. But the Robertino Diodoro trainee has been training sharply at Oaklawn in the interim, and the well-bred daughter of Medaglia d’Oro figures to get pace help. Yuugiri likewise might have needed her first start back in the Feb. 26 Honeybee (G3), where she tired to a distant third behind Secret Oath. Another expected to go forward early, Yuugiri teams up for the first time with Florent Geroux.
Brad Cox is double-handed with turf/synthetic performer Bubble Rock, who makes her dirt debut, and Oaklawn maiden romper Mariah’s Fortune. Bubble Rock captured last fall’s Matron (G3) before disappointing in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), but returned to form over the Turfway Park Tapeta. Although six lengths behind Marissa’s Lady when second in the Feb. 12 Valdale S., the daughter of More Than Ready emphatically turned the tables on the stretch-out in the Mar. 5 Cincinnati Trophy. Mariah’s Fortune is proven on the surface, but not at this level. She takes her first stakes test following an allowance second to Bernabreezy, who has since finished sixth in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2).
A trio of last-out Oaklawn maiden winners rounds out the field. Beguine, a Gun Runner half-sister to group/graded scorers Favorable Outcome and Mouheeb, has the most to recommend her. I Feel the Need takes an even bigger class hike first off the $50,000 claim, and Heartyconstitution steps up from a six-furlong dash.