10/07/2004 11:00PM

Fantasticat going to BC Classic, if he gets in


The connections of Super Derby winner Fantasticat would like the emerging colt to make his next start in the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic. The deciding factor will be if he can get into the field for the 1 1/4-mile race, which will be run at Lone Star Park on Oct. 30.

Fantasticat has bloomed late this year and might need the nod of the selection panel to get in the Classic if it is oversubscribed, as he is not among the leading point earners for the race. However, a field of 14 can be accommodated, and the last time the Classic had 14 starters was 1999.

More will be known about field size and preferences when pre-entries for the Classic are announced on Oct. 20. "We're sure leaning toward the Breeders' Cup Classic, [but] first we have to see if he gets in," said Bobby Barnett, who trains Fantasticat for Russ and Shelda Sherrod.

Fantasticat picked up his first graded win last month in the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby. He earned a career-best Beyer Figure of 103. Leading up to the race he had finished second in the $60,000 Prelude Stakes and the $100,000 Round Table. Fantasticat also was fifth in the Grade 3 West Virginia Derby.

"He seems like he's improving each race," said Barnett.

Fantasticat, who started his career in Ireland with trainer Aidan O'Brien, is a son of Storm Cat and the Grade 3-winning mare Lotta Dancing. He pulled a 14-1 upset over Borrego and Imperialism in the Super Derby, which has been a productive race when it comes to the Classic.

Six previous Super Derby starters have won the Classic, four of them as 3-year-olds: Sunday Silence, Unbridled, Concern, and Tiznow, who also won the Classic at 4.

Gerard Melancon rode Fantasticat in the Super Derby and would have the mount in the Classic. Melancon is based in Louisiana, while Fantasticat trains at Churchill Downs.

"He's galloped since we've been back," said Barnett. "He'll work on or about next Saturday."

Barnett said Fantasticat would tentatively work again on Oct. 24 or 25, then likely ship to Lone Star on the Tuesday or Wednesday before the Classic.

Fantasticat would be Barnett's fourth Breeders' Cup starter. He won the Juvenile in 1998 with eventual 2-year-old champion Answer Lively.