WET PAINT GOES FOR SWEEP IN THE FANTASY STAKES
For Immediate Release
Contact: Jennifer Hoyt, Director of Racing
email@example.com or 501-363-4305
Wet Paint Schooling in the infield
Photo credit: Coady Photography
WET PAINT GOES FOR SWEEP IN THE FANTASY STAKES
HOT SPRINGS, AR (Thursday, March 30, 2023) – Godolphin LLC’s homebred Wet Paint can become just the second horse to sweep what are now Oaklawn’s three Kentucky Oaks points races with a victory in Saturday’s $600,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles.
Probable post time for the Fantasy, the 10th of 13 races, is 5:35 p.m. (Central). Racing begins at 12:30 p.m. The Fantasy will offer 200 points to the top five finishers (100-40-30-20-10, respectively) toward starting eligibility for the Kentucky Oaks, the country’s biggest race for 3-year-old fillies.
Program favorite Wet Paint (70 points) has already secured a spot in the Kentucky Oaks after winning Oaklawn’s $200,000 Martha Washington Stakes at 1 1/16 miles Jan. 28 and the $300,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) at 1 1/16 miles Feb. 25. Only one horse, Eight Belles in 2008, has swept the Martha Washington (second division), Honeybee and Fantasy.
The projected 10-horse Fantasy field from the rail out: She’s Lookin Lucky, Cristian Torres to ride, 119 pounds, 5-2 on the morning line; Grand Love, Tyler Gaffalione, 119, 8-1; Towhead, Isaac Castillo, 119, 10-1; Taxed, Rafael Bejarano, 119, 30-1; Take Charge Briana, Reylu Gutierrez, 119, 20-1; Wet Paint, Flavien Prat, 122, 8-5; Pate, Florent Geroux, 119, 20-1; Royal Spa, Ricardo Santana Jr., 119, 4-1; Olivia Twist, David Cabrera, 122, 20-1; and Condensation, Francisco Arrieta, 119, 10-1.
Wet Paint, a daughter of champion and 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Blame, is perfect in three career starts on dirt. All three races, including the Martha Washington and Honeybee, have been around two turns and over off tracks.
Wet Paint rallied from 10th after three-quarters of a mile in the Honeybee, storming to the lead just inside the sixteenth pole under Prat. Wet Paint received a Beyer Speed Figure of 83 for her three-length Honeybee victory after generating a 67 for her Oct. 26 maiden victory at Horseshoe Indianapolis and a retroactively adjusted 83 for the Martha Washington.
“Her works have been impressive throughout the winter on a fast track, so I’m optimistic that she’ll be as good on a fast track as she is on a wet track,” trainer Brad Cox said. “It looks the like the race dynamics could play in her favor, based off the (past performances) and how much speed appears to be the race. We obviously don’t know until they run the opening quarter, opening half, but I like what I see.”
The Fantasy also brings back Condensation, Grand Love, Towhead, Take Charge Briana, Olivia Twist and Taxed, 2-3-5-7-8-9, respectively, in the Honeybee.
Condensation, at odds of 21-1, set the pace in the Honeybee before being overhauled by Wet Paint. Condensation was a front-running winner of her previous start, a first-level allowance at 1 mile Feb. 11 at Oaklawn, for trainer Chris Hartman.
“She ran a respectable race off a two-week layoff,” Hartman said, referring to the Honeybee. “Hopefully, we can get this thing penciled in the right way. She’s running good, so we’ll see what happens.”
Grand Love, beaten 3 ¾ lengths, was making her first start since finishing sixth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at 1 1/16 miles Nov. 4 at Keeneland for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.
“She’s always been so impressive to train,” Asmussen said. “I like the fact that she finally settled a little bit, and I think she got plenty out of it (Honeybee). And we’ll go from there. She deserves this opportunity.”
Take Charge Briana adds blinkers and switches to newly minted Fair Grounds riding champion Reylu Gutierrez for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas and owner Willis Horton Racing (Kevin Horton of Marshall, Ark.). Take Charge Briana finished fourth in the Martha Washington, seventh in the Honeybee and second, beaten a neck, in a March 19 allowance race at 1 1/16 miles.
“We know she’s fit,” Lukas said. “A successful day for her would be if we could run third. We’ll try to get that black type on a very expensive filly, so we’re going to try something different.”
New shooters include lightly raced Royal Spa for trainer Rodolphe Brisset, who saddled Yuugiri to win last year’s Fantasy, and She’s Lookin Lucky for trainer Matt Shirer.
Royal Spa, a daughter of Violence, won her career debut sprinting Nov. 18 at Churchill Downs, then stretched out to 1 1/8 miles in the $250,000 Demoiselle Stakes (G2) Dec. 3 at Aqueduct in her next start and finished fourth, beaten 4 ¾ lengths. Royal Spa resurfaced in a first-level allowance sprint March 2 at Oaklawn and drew off by 1 ¾ lengths under Santana. She tries two turns again Saturday.
“I loved what I saw the other day,” Brisset said. “Based on her works and her maturation, I was kind of hoping to see a different horse and I think we did. She stuck in a pocket, in :21 and change, :45 and change, I think, and when the hole opened, she just exploded. And she needed the race, too. I love this spot for her.”
She’s Lookin Lucky broke her maiden by 13 ¼ lengths in a 1 mile and 70-yard off-the-turf event Feb. 9 at Fair Grounds and finished second, beaten 4 ¼ lengths by Punchbowl, in an entry-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles March 5 at Oaklawn. Punchbowl (2 for 2) is a stablemate of Wet Paint and being pointed to the $600,000 Ashland Stakes (G1) at 1 1/16 miles April 7 at Keeneland, Cox said.
“She’s usually forwardly placed,” said Shirer, seeking his first career graded stakes victory. “The last two races I ran her, she’s been pretty close up. Drawing the rail is a little bit tough, so we’ve just got to work out a trip. There’s plenty of speed in there, so just got to be careful of that. Just need a clean trip, really.”
After winning the Martha Washington, Honeybee and Fantasy, Eight Belles finished second against males in the Kentucky Derby. Will’s Secret, campaigned by the now-deceased Willis Horton, won the Martha Washington and Honeybee in 2021 before running third in the Ashland and Kentucky Oaks.
Secret Oath scored runaway victories in last year’s Martha Washington and Honeybee before tackling males in Oaklawn’s $1.25 million Arkansas Derby (G1). Secret Oath finished third in the Arkansas Derby before winning the Kentucky Oaks in her next start for Lukas.
The $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) at 1 1/8 miles is May 5 at Churchill Downs.