04/05/2007 11:00PM

High Heels upsets Fantasy shippers


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Trainer Gary Hartlage has always been high on High Heels, and on Friday she rewarded his faith in her with a 6 3/4-length over 1-2 favorite Cotton Blossom in the Grade 2, $250,000 Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park. She is now being pointed for the Kentucky Oaks.

The Fantasy opened the Racing Festival of the South, when at least one stakes a day is run at Oaklawn over the last six days of the meet. The season closes April 14.

High Heels ($21) hopped out at the start of the mile and a sixteenth Fantasy, and had one horse beat into the first turn. She settled in along the rail about six lengths off the lead, as Jay’s Princess and Devil House dueled through an opening quarter in 22.54 seconds and a half-mile in 46.26.

Cotton Blossom stalked those two in third. High Heels, meanwhile, continued to ride the rail while advancing on the final turn. Nearing the stretch she angled to the outside and moved to new leader Cotton Blossom. High Heels overtook Cotton Blossom past the eighth pole, and drew clear under jockey Joe Johnson.

"In the stretch, she gave me a big run to the wire," said Johnson.

High Heels covered the distance over a fast track in 1:44.43, and registered her first stakes win in the Fantasy.

"She finally did it the way I always thought she could do it," said Hartlage. "Primetime!"

Hartlage said the goal now for High Heels is the Grade 1, $500,000 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 4. She won her maiden at Churchill last fall, and also ran third in the track’s Grade 2 Golden Rod. High Heels earned $150,000 for her win Friday for her owner and breeder, Anita Ebert. She has now won 3 of 10 starts and $266,648.

High Heels is a daughter of E Dubai. In January at Oaklawn, the filly was an eight-length allowance winner. In her most recent start she ran second in the $100,000 Honeybee, the local prep for the Fantasy.

Cash Included finished third in the Fantasy, a length and three-quarters behind Cotton Blossom. The remaining order of finish was Swift Temper in fourth, followed by Time’s Mistress, Devil House, Tensas Yucatan, and Jay’s Princess.

The Racing Festival will continue on Saturday with the Grade 1, $500,000 Apple Blossom and the Grade 2, $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap.