The Grade III, $500,000 Fantasy Stakes is set for Friday at Oaklawn Park on the eve of the Arkansas Derby. The 1 1/16th-mile Kentucky Oaks prep drew a competitive field of 12. Going as Race 8 of 10 on the day, estimated post time for the Fantasy is 5:42 p.m. Eastern.
#4 LADY APPLE (6-1) was a winner in her first career route race last time out. The versatile daughter of Curlin set the pace outside of IRISH MISCHIEF before moving away from that rival in deep stretch. Ricardo Santana Jr. has tactical options on the Steve Asmussen trainee based on lifetime past performances, which will help as the tempo could turn out to be very fast. LADY APPLE has competitive speed figures and should not be underestimated.
#8 MOTION EMOTION (5-2, morning-line favorite) looks like the speed of the race, and new pilot Mike Smith is typically not afraid to flaunt the early foot of his assignments. Smith must ensure that MOTION EMOTION doesn’t burn herself out as she did in the Honeybee though, where she faded to second after setting fast fractions. If she can replicate her winning effort from two starts ago, MOTION EMOTION will be hard to catch.
#9 BRILL (7-2) has failed to live up to the hype since her convincing debut win at Del Mar. Her subsequent two starts were an off-the-board performance in the Del Mar Debutante and distant third-place finish behind Bellafina in the Chandelier. However, BRILL’s runner-up placing over this course last month off a long layoff indicates that she could be sitting on a career-best performance. Florent Geroux has the call once more.
The play: $10 win 4
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