Motion Emotion bids for her first career stakes victory in the $500,000 Fantasy (G3) for 3-year-old fillies Friday at Oaklawn, the final major local prep for the Kentucky Oaks.
The 1 1/16-mile Fantasy goes as the eighth race and headlines a 10-race program to open the annual Racing Festival of the South. Probable post time is 4:42 p.m. (Central). Doors open Friday at 11 a.m., with first post 1:30 p.m.
Owned by Mark DeDomenico and trained by Tom Van Berg, Motion Emotion exits a runner-up finish in the $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) March 9, the final major local prep for the Fantasy. Motion Emotion had won her first two starts at the meeting in front-running fashion and opened a large lead in the 1 1/16-mile Honeybee before being collared late by Chocolate Kisses. Motion Emotion switches to Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith and is the 5-2 program favorite for the Fantasy, which drew a field of 12.
“All systems go right now,” Van Berg said. “I hope we get a good trip, get out of the gate cleanly. Everything else is in Mike's hands. The filly's ready.”
Van Berg said he doesn't believe Motion Emotion needs the lead to win, but she will go to the front with a favorable pace scenario.
“If they go slow, she'll be on the front end,” Van Berg said. “If they go fast, we've got her to rate nicely in the mornings. She's very versatile. She doesn't have to be in front. A lot of people think she needs to be in front. We're happy to sit off it. We're happy to go. We'll find out what they do.”
Van Berg, the son of the late Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg, is seeking his second career Oaklawn stakes victory. He won the $100,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) in 2004 with Sonic West.
OXO Equine LLC (Larry Best) and Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer send out early 7-2 second choice Brill, who prepped for the Fantasy with a runner-up finish in her 3-year-old debut, a March 22 allowance sprint. Brill had been based in Southern California at 2, finishing fourth as the favorite in the $300,000 Del Mar Debutante (G1) Sept. 1 at Del Mar and third in the $300,000 Chandelier Stakes (G1) Sept. 29 at Santa Anita. Kentucky Oaks favorite Bellafina won both races.
“I sent Brill there because Larry wanted to try and see if she could run in that race,” Hollendorfer said. “It's a very prestigious race and we would like to win or get stakes placed in it.”
Hollendorfer won the Fantasy in 1991 with Lite Light and in 2010 with Blind Luck, who was named the country's champion 3-year-old filly that year. Brill's dam, Hung the Moon, broke her maiden and won a first-level allowance race at the 2013 Oaklawn meeting before finishing sixth in the Fantasy. Brill is by Medaglia d'Oro, who broke his maiden at the 2002 Oaklawn meeting and won the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) the following year.
Orra Moor – 4-1 on the morning line – won her first two career starts at Gulfstream Park for trainer Todd Pletcher before finishing a close third in the $250,000 Busher Stakes March 9 at Aqueduct.
The Fantasy field from the rail out: Cosmic Code, Jon Court to ride, 117 pounds, 12-1 on the morning line; Filly Joel, David Cohen, 117, 20-1; Irish Mischief, Stewart Elliott, 117, 10-1; Lady Apple, Ricardo Santana Jr., 117, 6-1; Destiny Over Fate, Walter De La Cruz, 117, 30-1; Super Tap, Orlando Mojica, 117, 50-1; Kiffle, Alex Canchari, 117, 50-1; Motion Emotion, Mike Smith, 117, 5-2; Brill, Florent Geroux, 117, 7-2; Orra Moor, Luis Saez, 117, 4-1; K P Slickem, Tyler Baze, 117, 20-1; and Oxy Lady, Declan Cannon, 121, 6-1.
The Fantasy offers 170 points to the top four finishers (100-40-20-10) toward starting eligibility for the Kentucky Oaks (G1), the nation's biggest race for 3-year-old fillies.
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