Venetian Harbor, British Idiom top draws in dynamite Fantasy

Apr 26, 2020 by James Scully/

The Kentucky Oaks has been postponed from May 1 until Sept. 4, but 3-year-old fillies will still compete this Friday in the $400,000 Fantasy (G2) at Oaklawn Park.

Originally scheduled for April 10, the Fantasy remains a major Oaks qualifier, awarding points on a 100-40-20-10 scale to the top four finishers, and the 1 1/16-mile race drew an outstanding field of 14. It’s full of shippers, with nine fillies making their last start outside of Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Venetian Harbor invades from California following a spectacular stakes debut in the Feb. 8 Las Virgenes (G2) at Santa Anita, registering a field-best 102 Brisnet Speed rating for the 9 1/4-length triumph. The daughter of Munnings has won two straight for Richard Baltas, breaking her maiden by a 10-length margin two back, and Venetian Harbor promises to show speed from post 2 with Flavien Prat.

Multiple Grade 1 vixen and 2-year-old filly champion British Idiom opened her racing career with three straight wins, including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), and she’s eligible to improve after finishing second in the Feb. 15 Rachel Alexandra (G2) off a layoff. The Brad Cox-trained Flashback filly will be rallying with Javier Castellano.

Cox will also send out Shedaresthedevil, who adds the services of Joel Rosario off a win in the March 7 Honeybee (G3) at Oaklawn.

Swiss Skydiver merits respect following a 3 1/4-length upset in the March 28 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), and Brian Hernandez will be in to ride the Daredevil filly for Kenny McPeek. Bill Mott has a dangerous duo in Harveys Lil Goil, a smashing 7 1/2-length winner Feb. 2 Busanda S. at Aqueduct last out; and Grade 2 winner Lake Avenue, a rallying third most recently in the Gulfstream Park Oaks.

Alta’s Award recorded a close second as the favorite when making her stakes debut in the Honeybee, and the daughter of Tonalist is one of two for Steve Asmussen along with Fire Coral, who will make her first stakes attempt after back-to-back wins over maiden and entry-level allowance foes at Oaklawn.

Other runners include Pocahontas (G2) winner Lazy Daisy, last seen finishing sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies for Doug O'Neill; Ice Princess, who exits a pair of convincing tallies at Aqueduct for Danny Gargan; Woodbine stakes winner New York Groove; and Kansas Kis, who adds Florent Georux following a nose second in the March 7 Busher Invitational S. at Aqueduct.

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