09/01/2010 5:11PM

Fancy Point dominant in P.G. Johnson

Barbara D. Livingston
Fancy Point, with Javier Castellano up, wins the P.G. Johnson Stakes.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Fancy Point gave her connections some trouble in the paddock and in the post parade. But when the gates opened for Wednesday's $70,000 P.G. Johnson Stakes, Fancy Point turned her fury on her seven opponents.

Under the red-hot-riding Javier Castellano, Fancy Point cruised uncontested on the lead for more than three-quarters of a mile, turned back a challenge from Pleine Forme at the quarter pole, then came home a 1 1/2-length winner over late-running Kathmanblu. It was another half-length back to Pleine Forme in third. Lauren Byrd, Believe in A.P. the 2-1 favorite, Maria's Luck, Arch Support and Avanta, completed the order of finish.

It was the first victory for Fancy Point, who had finished fourth in her only other start, a six-furlong race on dirt here on Aug. 1. It was also the first win of the meet for trainer Will Phipps, who had gone 0 for 17 through the first 34 days.

"We've been wanting to try the turf, the race was here, the timing was good, and quite frankly the maiden special weights have been running as fast, if not faster, than these 2-year-old stakes," Phipps said when asked why he tried a maiden in a stakes. "It seemed like a safe spot. We loved her in the morning so we took a gamble."

Fancy Point acted up a bit in the paddock. She was nervous in the post parade, to the point where Castellano jumped off the filly. Once loaded in the gate without her rider, Fancy Point settled down as Castellano climbed back aboard.

When the gates opened, Fancy Point took Castellano to the lead and they raced uncontested through fractions of 23.67 seconds, 48.29 and 1:12.90 for six furlongs. Approaching the quarter pole, Pleine Forme attempted to creep up alongside, but Fancy Point repelled that challenge and was never threatened thereafter. Fancy Point, a daughter of Point Given owned by the Steinbrenner family's Kinsman Stable, covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.78 and returned $9.70 to win.

"I felt like she was on the lead, but she didn't know what to do," said Castellano, who won his 10th stakes race of the meet and remained one win behind John Velazquez for leading rider. "She just galloped along, looked around at everything. But she still impressed me - she wasn't paying attention, but when I asked her she exploded."

Said Phipps: "She dug in, she has a lot of heart. I think there's a little more to her than what you saw today. She's pretty phenomenal."

The next logical spot for Fancy Point is the Grade 3, $150,000 Miss Grillo Breeders' Cup Stakes at Belmont Park on Oct. 3