Medallion Racing and Jerry McClanahan’s Sassy Sienna entered Friday’s $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park on the outside of the 144th Kentucky Oaks (G1) field looking in. One nose victory later and the dark bay lass secured her spot in the starting gate for the May 4 Run for the Lilies at Churchill Downs.
The Fantasy was the final race in the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series, and offered 100-40-20-10 points the respective top four runners.
Sassy Sienna tracked the pacesetting Amy’s Challenge through swift fractions, set her sights on Wonder Gadot when that one took over in the lane, and battled to stick her nose in front on the wire to score as the 11-1 fifth choice in the eight-filly field. The Brad Cox trainee ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.63 over the fast, sealed dirt with jockey Gary Stevens aboard to return $25 for the win.
It was the first stakes victory for Sassy Sienna, and improved her career record to 9-3-2-2, $394,160. It also awarded her 100 points, which bumped her total to 115 and moved her from 21st to third on the Kentucky Oaks Leaderboard. The dark bay daughter of Midshipman earned her initial 15 points by running second in the Martha Washington Stakes and third in the Honeybee Stakes (G3) in her past pair.
Wonder Gadot took home 40 points for her tough-luck second, which saw the Mark Casse trainee rise from 11th on the Oaks Leaderboard to eighth with 84 total points. Amy’s Challenge entered the Fantasy as the 7-5 favorite with 20 points, good for 17th on the Leaderboard, and now sits in 13th with 40 points.
Cosmic Burst actually dropped one spot, from 10th to 11th, on the Leaderboard despite upping her Kentucky Oaks points to 62 after acquiring the 10 for finishing fourth.
Bo Peep rallied to take fifth after running in last throughout and was followed under the wire by Harbor Lights, Tahoe Dream and Princess Warrior.
Bred in Kentucky by Haymarket Farm LLC, Sassy Sienna is out of the unraced Pleasant Tap mare Tap for Gold and counts as half-siblings Canadian Grade 3-placed Newton John, stakes-placed Spina, and multiple stakes-placed Ruth and Neva.
Sassy Sienna’s second dam is Grade 2 heroine Golden Reef and she comes from a prolific international black-type female line.
FANTASY STAKES QUOTES
Brad Cox, trainer Sassy Sienna, winner
“She’s a tough filly. She’s shown us a lot from the get go. On to the (Kentucky) Oaks (G1).”
Gary Stevens, jockey Sassy Sienna, winner
“It was an awesome, awesome trip. I didn’t use her much away from the gate last time. I shuffle back and it kind of back fired on me. She was super sharp and the crew had her ready. She left there running and sat a good trip in second and she just kept grinding it out. Beautiful filly. I told those guys I was wishing today was a mile and an eighth and that’s a good thing because she will get the mile and an eighth for the Oaks. She is springing forward at the right time.”
David Cabrera, jockey Wonder Gadot, second
“The filly ran it really good. She relaxed really good. She fought all the way. I thought for a little bit that we were the winner, but that other horse just kept on kicking.”
Mike Smith, jockey Amy’s Challenge, third
“I just couldn’t get her to turn off. When the track is sealed like that, it can really make a lot of noise and she just kept running from it. I tried to slow her down and it made it worse. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. She just didn’t get into a rhythm.”