Trainer Steve Asmussen sent out both 2-5 favorite Terra Promessa and 7-2 second shot Taxable in Saturday’s $400,000 Fantasy (G3) at Oaklawn Park, and the duo gave their conditioner a one-two finish in the Road to the Kentucky Oaks points race.
Terra Promessa looked like an easy winner in the stretch before Taxable came running to cut her margin to a neck on the wire. The Curlin filly stopped the clock in 1:45.06 for 1 1/16 miles over Oaklawn’s fast main track, good for not only the winner’s share, which doubled her career earnings to $440,600, but also for 100 points toward a starting berth in the May 6 Kentucky Oaks (G1).
Taxable was making her stakes bow in this spot and was awarded 40 points to debut in 14th on the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard.
Ready to Confess, who contested the initial quarter before taking over through six furlongs, was 5 3/4 lengths farther back in third, good for 20 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks. Cosmic Evolution, who set the opening split, was third in the Honeybee (G3) but found herself filling the fourth spot in this contest. She added 10 to bring her total Kentucky Oaks points to 20.
Terra Promessa is now 5-4-0-1 in her career after taking the Honeybee last out by 6 1/2 lengths in her stakes debut. The Kentucky-bred miss also scored a nine-length victory in an allowance at Oaklawn on February 5 to open her 2016 campaign and broke her maiden by a length at Churchill Downs last November.
Terra Promessa is out of the multiple stakes-winning Yes It’s True mare Missile Bay, making her a half-sister to stakes-placed Mio Me.
Steve Asmussen, trainer Terra Promessa & Taxable, winner & second: “Obviously very proud of both of the fillies. Running them against each other here, I just felt that they had both run so well here over the race track their last start. We're definitely trying to get to the (Kentucky) Oaks with both fillies. I thought this was the best opportunity for them.”
Ricardo Santana Jr., jockey Terra Promessa, winner: “That's a really, really nice filly. She's a hard trier. Every race, she's doing better and better and better. I really like my filly for the Oaks. I think we have a really good chance in that race.
“I know my filly and I know she has a lot of fight in her. Every time she runs, she does better, better and better. She was pretty sharp today and I know if she ever felt another filly alongside her, she would fight back and she showed that today. She was going to let the other filly get by her. She’s going to be tough for the Oaks. I’m excited.”
Joe Rocco Jr., jockey Taxable (picked up mount late after Corey Nakatani took off mounts), second: “My filly ran really well. We sat off the favorite, Steve’s other horse, and took our time, picked our way through the field. When I called on her, she gave me a nice run and I thought we were going to get by the other filly. She got a little tired late, she was switching leads down the stretch. I hope I get to ride her back because she’s a nice filly.”
Luis Quinonez, jockey Ready to Confess, third: “We ran third, she ran really well. We went a little fast early, but was able to relax up front once she was by herself and that helped her with her finish today. We just got outrun today.”