Horse Racing

2024 Fantasy Stakes Betting Odds and Contenders Preview

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numberFire Racing
2024 Fantasy Stakes Betting Odds and Contenders Preview

The Fantasy Stakes (G3), the final race on the Oaklawn Park spur of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks, happens on Saturday, March 30. Twelve sophomore fillies will line up to go 1 1/16 miles on the dirt, with excellent spoils awaiting the horses who run well: a $750,000 purse and 100-50-25-15-10 Kentucky Oaks points to the top five finishers.

The race is the last of three Kentucky Oaks points races at Oaklawn Park. The series started with the Martha Washington on February 3 and then continued with the Honeybee (G3) on February 24. Some superstars have won this race: in fact, two Fantasy winners have gone on to beat males in the Preakness Stakes (G1), both Rachel Alexandra (2009) and Swiss Skydiver (2020). 2023 winner Wet Paint was beaten as the Kentucky Oaks favorite but took down the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) later that year, and 2022 winner Yuugiri arose as one of the best sprinters of 2023. Others among its most important winners include Davona Dale (1979), Tiffany Lass (1986), Lite Light (1991), Escena (1996), and Eight Belles (2008).

Fantasy Stakes 2024 Information

  • Race Date: Saturday, March 30, 2024
  • Track: Oaklawn
  • Post Time: 6:00 p.m. Central Standard Time
  • Distance: 1 1/16 miles
  • Age/Sex: three-year-old fillies
  • Where to Watch: FanDuel TV, Fox Sports 2
  • Where to Bet: TVG.com and FanDuel Racing

Fantasy Stakes Odds

This is the field for the Fantasy Stakes, including post positions, trainers, and jockeys.

Post
Horse
Trainer
Jockey
Odds
1My Mane SqueezeMike MakerFlavien Prat3-1
2In Just My HeelsRon MoquettRafael Bejarano30-1
3Midshipman’s DanceRobertino DiodoroRamon Vazquez20-1
4All Things GoMichael PuhichRocco Bowen10-1
5Where’s My RingVal BrinkerhoffFrancisco Arrieta6-1
6Ba Dee YahTom AmossEdgar Morales12-1
7RechargeSteve AsmussenEdgar Morales30-1
View Full Table

Fantasy Stakes Prep Results

As usual, more runners come out of the Honeybee than any other individual spot: five of the 12 entrants in the Fantasy come from the local prep. Lemon Muffin incinerated the tote board at 28-1, winning the race by open lengths, and returns to prove that was no fluke. Second- and third-place Tapit Jenallie and West Omaha hope to turn the tables, as do fifth-place Midshipman’s Dance and seventh-place In Just My Heels.

Four others come out of Kentucky Oaks points preps. Recharge and Candy Aisle were separated by a neck as the 1-2 finishers in the Sunland Park Oaks. Where’s My Ring finished a late-chasing second in the Santa Ysabel (G3). Thorpedo Anna makes her sophomore debut, but was last seen running second as the odds-on favorite in the Golden Rod (G2) at Churchill Downs.

Two other runners come out of stakes races that did not have Oaks points at stake. Ba Dee YAh romped in an off-turf edition of the Black Cat LaCombe Memorial at Fair Grounds on March 9, while My Mane Squeeze beat New York-breds in the Maddie May at Aqueduct on February 24.

Only one runner makes her stakes debut in the Fantasy. All Things Go has only raced once, winning a six-furlong maiden special weight at Oaklawn Park on February 16, and tries winners for the first time in the Fantasy.

2024 Fantasy Stakes Contenders

This is the 12-horse field for the Fantasy Stakes, in order from the rail out:

My Mane Squeeze: She has emerged as the best of the New York-bred sophomore fillies, rattling off three straight stakes wins against others born in the Empire State. She is winning these races in fast enough fashion, but not only has to handle a class rise in this spot but also a challenging rail draw and a two-turn trip for the first time. She has further upside third off the lay, but demand enough of a price to offset the unanswered questions.

In Just My Heels: She did a lot of the dirty work up front in the Honeybee and paid the price, weakening to seventh in the end. Without a ton of early speed entered in the Fantasy she could get a decent forward trip, but her speeds in even her better races suggest that she may just not be good enough, especially against this deeper field.

Midshipman’s Dance: She won her first two starts at one turn at Oaklawn, but ran only evenly to finish fifth in the Honeybee. Though trainer Robertino Diodoro’s record in route races is generally good, his performance in second-time route tries is underwhelming (only 3 for his last 25), and her lack of early pace may not get the right setup given the composition of the field.

All Things Go: She looked good breaking her maiden by open lengths last month at Oaklawn, and third-place Just an Opinion already came back to win. On the bad side, Just an Opinion beat claimers, and that race All Things Go won was a sprint. Trainer Puhich can also struggle with first-time routers and last-out maiden winners. On the good side, All Things Go showed tactical speed in that race, and everything about her pedigree suggests she wants more ground.

Where’s My Ring: She is the only maiden in the field, but she has more stakes experience than some of the winners, including a second-place run in the Santa Ysabel (G3) last out at Santa Anita. Despite her lack of wins, she has run good races from anywhere in the pack, and her recent speed figures make her competitive against this set. Don’t count her out for a piece underneath.

Ba Dee Yah: She took a nice step forward last out in the Black Cat LaCombe at Fair Grounds, stalking the pace and thrashing off-turf runners the way she needed to in order to earn a shot in a Kentucky Oaks prep. Tom Amoss has been solid at Oaklawn Park with limited shippers, and without a ton of speed in this race, she should be able to get a trip. The worry is whether she regresses, but Amoss’ strong record with last-out winners suggests she can hold form at a price.

Recharge: She has looked good at more under-the-radar tracks in the southwest, winning her first two starts on the Oklahoma-Texas circuit before trying Kentucky Oaks hopefuls at Sunland and beating Candy Aisle by a neck for top honors. Steve Asmussen has been bringing her along gradually, and though she needs another step forward against these tougher Oaks prep types, her speed and her distance breeding make her an interesting candidate.

West Omaha: Sent off the favorite in the Honeybee after a win in the Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds, she was no match for Lemon Muffin in the Honeybee and could not reel in Tapit Jenallie for second. The race was a regression from her previous efforts. The good news is that Brad Cox shines with last-out beaten favorites; she can win with a modest pace, and perhaps a better break can lead to better results. But, don’t take a short price, as even her best makes her no lock to win this.

Candy Aisle: She has found her bearings in New Mexico, winning three straight sprints on that circuit before finishing second beaten a neck in the Sunland Park Oaks. Her debut at Del Mar can be tossed, in the sense that she clearly needed to get her head straight, something she has done since. She also has strong distance breeding. However, all her races have come back on the slow side compared to the best in this field, meaning she has to find more against these classier opponents.

Tapit Jenallie: She needs to find better, as she was soundly outfinished by Lemon Muffin in the Honeybee. However, she could be the one who works a clean outside tracking trip, which is a point in her favor. She makes sense for another bite of the exotics, though check the pools and make sure she is enough of a price, as she is hardly a standout and could get overbet after finishing second in the local prep.

Lemon Muffin: She was a maiden who had only ever sprinted heading into the Honeybee, with four straight second-place finishes at Oaklawn Park and Churchill Downs, but she was a winning route horse coming out of it. Her gradual improvement through her career is a positive; even her win in the Honeybee was not a sharp jump over her maiden form. There’s reason to think she just woke up with a first-time route. The outside post may be a challenge, but if she can overcome it, she is a win candidate.

Thorpedo Anna: She was a rising star through last autumn with wins at Keeneland and Churchill Downs, though she was defeated at odds-on in the Golden Rod. Kenny McPeek gave her a long winter break, but she was regularly on the worktab starting in February. This won’t be an easy spot: she has to prove herself at two turns, and she drew the parking lot. But, her connections are prodigious Oaklawn Park winners and she does not need a lot of improvement from her juvenile form.

Fantasy Stakes Past Winners Past Performances

Fantasy Stakes winners tend to come out of the Honeybee. Out of the last ten winners, seven last raced in that local prep. Fantasy Stakes runners don’t have to have won the Honeybee, though, to be live on the win end. Terra Promessa (2016) and Wet Paint (2023) did win the Honeybee, but five other recent Fantasy winners did not. That includes Sugar Shock (second, 2014), Ever So Clever (fifth, 2017), Sassy Sienna (third, 2018), Pauline’s Pearl (second, 2021), and Yuugiri (third, 2022).

Lady Apple (2019) also took her final prep for the Fantasy at Oaklawn, which came with an allowance win, though she had graded experience at age two. Only two recent winners of the Fantasy last raced at tracks other than Oaklawn. Include Betty (2015) was most recently fifth in the Florida Oaks (G3) on turf, while Swiss Skydiver (2020) came out of the Gulfstream Park Oaks. Note that the Gulfstream Park Oaks typically runs too close to the Fantasy to be a prep, but the Fantasy was delayed in 2020 due to COVID.

Fantasy Stakes Undercard

The Fantasy Stakes is the 11th race on Oaklawn’s flagship 13-race card Saturday, a card with three graded stakes races and one other stakes event. The richest race on the card is the $1.5 million Arkansas Derby (G1), a 100-point Kentucky Derby prep that features a deep field of 10. The card also features the $500,000 Oaklawn Mile for older horses, and the $250,000 Matron for filly and mare sprinters.

The Arkansas Derby is not the only major horse racing event on Saturday: the Florida Derby (G1) and the UAE Derby (G2) offer trips to the Kentucky Derby, the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) features some Kentucky Oaks hopefuls, and the Dubai World Cup is one of the richest races on the entire year’s calendar. With so much top-class horse racing, get ready to watch and play all day with FanDuel TV and TVG!

Oaklawn Park History

Back in 1905, the Hot Springs Mayor declared a half-day holiday for the opening of Oaklawn Park, with over 3,000 people attending the track on its first day of racing. The holiday heralded the beginning of a tradition that has lasted for over a century!

Due to political issues, no racing took place at Oaklawn Park between 1907 and 1916 but after a sustained period of action the now-famous Fantasy Stakes was inaugurated in 1936 with a purse of $5,000 offered to entrants.

By 1952 Oaklawn could boast daily attendances of almost 8,000 people and an average daily handle of well over $400,000, figures which rose by the turn of the decade to 10,000 and $500,000, respectively, with the Fantasy Stakes purse increasing to $50,000 by 1965.

The track continued to go from strength to strength, and during a 50-day meeting in 1970, an average of 11,000 people were attending daily, with over $43,000,000 wagered over the course of the meet.

In the mid-70s, Oaklawn Park gave birth to the Racing Festival of the South, with pari-mutuel wagering amounting to a cool $80,000,000 that season, and by the 80s, over a quarter of a million people were attending the festival each year. By then, the purse for the Fantasy Stakes was up at $500,000, and a new single-day attendance record was set with 71,000 showing up to see Rampage win the big race in 1986.

Ten years later, Fantasy Stakes day saw a total handle of over $10.5 million, and by the turn of the millennium, Oaklawn was still seeing increases in attendance and wagering, meaning the track stands as one of the best in the country at present.

Fantasy Stakes FAQ

Q: When and where is the Fantasy Stakes?

A: The race happens Saturday, March 30, at 6:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas. It is the 11th of 13 races on the card.

Q: Which trainer has the most wins in the Fantasy Stakes?

A: Steve Asmussen leads all trainers with four wins, most recently in 2021 with Pauline’s Pearl. He enters Recharge in the 2024 edition.

Q: Who is the favorite for the Fantasy Stakes?

A: The morning line for the race has not yet been released. However, the board should be a tight and competitive one, with horses including leading two-year-old Thorpedo Anna, Honeybee Stakes winner Lemon Muffin, and Sunland Park Oaks winner Recharge among the runners one should expect to take money.

Q: Who is the best Fantasy Stakes jockey?

A: Chris McCarron leads all jockeys with four victories in the Fantasy between 1984 and 1992, including with eventual Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) winner Very Subtle in 1987. Ricardo Santana, Jr. already has three wins in this race, and can tie the record if he guides Candy Aisle to victory.

Q: Who won the 2023 Fantasy Stakes?

A: Wet Paint won the 2023 Fantasy Stakes for trainer Brad Cox and jockey Flavien Prat. Cox sends out West Omaha with jockey Tyler Gaffalione, while Prat rides My Mane Squeeze for Mike Maker.


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