04/21/2016 12:30PM

Fantastic Style heavy favorite to repeat in Great Lady M.

Barbara D. Livingston
Fantastic Style, training at Santa Anita in March, tries for her fourth straight win on Saturday.

CYPRESS, Calif. – For the second consecutive year, Fantastic Style will start in the $200,000 Great Lady M. Stakes at Los Alamitos with high expectations. Last year, she won her first graded stakes in the Grade 2 Great Lady M. for fillies and mares at 6 1/2 furlongs but was sidelined for the rest of the year with muscle soreness.

When Fantastic Style starts as a heavy favorite in Saturday’s running, the 4-year-old filly will try to extend a three-race winning streak.

:: Los Alamitos: Buy PPs, watch Saturday’s card live

Owned by Kaleem Shah and trained by Bob Baffert, Fantastic Style has won 5 of 7 starts and earned $332,000. Her winning streak includes the Angels Flight Stakes at Santa Anita last May, the Great Lady M. last July, and a four-length win in the Grade 3 Las Flores Stakes at Santa Anita on March 20.

The comprehensive win in the Las Flores Stakes showed that Fantastic Style was back in peak form for a season that Shah and Baffert hope will include a start in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita in November.

The Great Lady M. Stakes, the richest race of the three-week Los Alamitos spring meeting, drew a field of seven – six stakes winners and the graded-stakes-placed Finest City.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has three runners – Dr. Fager’s Gal, Minks Aprise, and Thirteen Arrows. Each will be after her first graded stakes win in the Great Lady M.


Fantastic Style, by Harlan’s Holiday

Last 3 Beyers: 95-96-97

◗ Fantastic Style’s 2015 season was not supposed to end after the Great Lady M. The pulled muscle was diagnosed while she was training at Del Mar last August.

“I’m looking forward to having a big summer,” Baffert said. “She looks good and has been training well.”

◗ Rafael Bejarano has the mount on Fantastic Style, who starts from post 2. She is surrounded by the Midwest shipper Thirteen Arrows to her inside and Lost Bus to her outside, runners who have ample speed similar to Fantastic Style. That is a concern for Baffert.

“There is a lot of speed in there,” Baffert said. “I don’t like the post.”

Lost Bus, by Bring the Heat

Last 3 Beyers: 90-95-77

◗ Lost Bus gave a career-best performance with a 64-1 upset in the Grade 2 Santa Monica Stakes for fillies and mares at seven furlongs at Santa Anita in January. She dueled for the lead throughout and won by a head over Finest City.

◗ Lost Bus, trained by Gary Sherlock for Terry Lovingier, won her only subsequent start, an optional claimer at seven furlongs at Santa Anita in March.

“We’ve got to outrun Baffert,” Sherlock said. “I think she’s a little better at seven-eighths. She’ll be in the race early.”

Ben’s Duchess, by Munnings

Last 3 Beyers: 86-40-80

◗ Ben’s Duchess closed from last of five in the Las Flores Stakes to finish a clear second to Fantastic Style, her best result in three starts at the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting.

◗ A fast pace would greatly aid Ben’s Duchess, who won the Grade 3 L.A. Woman Stakes at Santa Anita last October. In that race, Ben’s Duchess closed from off the pace and benefited from a wicked speed duel.

◗ Ben’s Duchess, trained by John Sadler, beat Fantastic Style in a maiden race at Santa Anita in December 2014 but was third behind Fantastic Style in the Angels Flight Stakes last May.