07/09/2011 6:34PM

Arlington Park: Fantasia handles the added distance in Modesty victory

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Doug Clark/Four-Footed Fotos
Fantasia, with Rajiv Maragh up, wins the Grade 3 Modesty Handicap at Arlington Park.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – Fantasia and Wasted Tears both stretched out from middle-distance races to try the 1 3/16-mile, Grade 3 Modesty Handicap on Saturday at Arlington. Fantasia liked the added ground. Wasted Tears, not so much.

Winning for the first time in 2011, Fantasia got an ideal trip under Rajiv Maragh, moving into position coming into the far turn and launching a winning run outside horses in the stretch. She beat longshot Romin Robin by one length, with My Baby Baby third, Askbut I Won’ttell fourth, and Wasted Tears a fading fifth. The winners’ time of 1:53.80 was a stakes record at the current Modesty distance.

Fantasia ($9.80), a 5-year-old mare owned by George Strawbridge’s Augustin Stables, won for the sixth time in 18 starts, but had been just 1 for 9 since being imported from England. Fantasia is by Sadler’s Wells, whose offspring have ample stamina, but out of a sprinting mare, and her connections have long pondered what her best distance might be.

“They had trouble figuring her out in England,” trainer Jonathan Sheppard said.

Fantasia’s U.S. races before the Modesty all had come at 1 1/16 miles or less, but Sheppard said Fantasia is stronger, more settled, and more confident than she was in 2010, leading him to experiment.

Wasted Tears, the even-money favorite, set solid early splits of 23.85 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, 48.09 to the half, and 1:11.78 while closely pursued by My Baby Baby Baby. She turned for home still on the lead, but failed to run on in the final furlong.

“She was comfortable, relaxed,” jockey Julien Leparoux said. “She just didn’t have the punch she usually has.”

Provided that Fantasia does well in the coming weeks, she’ll return to Arlington for the Aug. 13 Beverly D., Sheppard said.