05/13/2006 12:00AM

Arlington: Rich Fantasy relishes mud

Benoit Photo
Rich Fantasy wins the Ribbon Handicap by six lengths on Saturday at Arlington Park.

Rich Fantasy apparently loves mud, a fact not lost on a vast number of bettors at Arlington Park.

Arlington's morning line pegged Rich Fantasy as the 7-2 second choice in the $40,000 Ribbon Handicap, a six-furlong dirt sprint for 3-year-old fillies, and that seemed a reasonable number, since Rich Fantasy had just finished second in an Illinois-bred stakes race, and was in against open fillies with solid credentials. That predicted price went out the window, and Rich Fantasy blew the doors off her five rivals, winning the Ribbon by six lengths at minuscule odds of 4-5. The win money really started flooding in on Rich Fantasy with a couple of minutes to post; one final surge of action, and she paid just $3.80 to win for owner Oxbow Racing, trainer Ronny Werner, and jockey Francisco Torres.

It must have been her close second-place finish this past winter in the Dixie Belle at Oaklawn, another race on a sloppy track, that tipped off players. Saturday, Rich Fantasy contested the early pace while trapped inside Lillians Choice - the half-mile split was 45.27 seconds - but easily shrugged off the only other speed horse and ran by herself through the stretch, stopping the timer in 1:09.51. Coolwind put in a mild late rally to edge Lizzy's Township for second.