10/08/2009 11:00PM

Magical Fantasy chases four in row


ARCADIA, Calif. - There is no secret formula to Magical Fantasy's success in 2009.

"I just stay out of her way," trainer Paddy Gallagher said.

To his credit, the approach is working. Magical Fantasy has emerged as the leading female turf runner in California this year, a role that will make her the favorite in Saturday's $300,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes at Santa Anita.

A win there would make Magical Fantasy one of the leading domestic contenders for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf here Nov. 6. The Yellow Ribbon winner receives a guaranteed berth to the Filly and Mare Turf through the Breeders' Cup's Win and You're In program, but Magical Fantasy has essentially earned a position in the race already.

A 4-year-old filly by Diesis owned by David Bienstock, Paul Mandabach and Chuck Winner, Magical Fantasy has won three consecutive graded stakes: the Grade 2 Santa Barbara here in April, the Grade 1 Gamely Stakes at Hollywood Park in May, and the Grade 1 John Mabee Handicap at Del Mar in August. The Santa Barbara was run over the same 1 1/4 miles on turf as the Yellow Ribbon.

"She's older," Gallagher said. "When she was younger, she was aggressive and wanted to get on with it. She's easy on herself."

A win against seven rivals in the Yellow Ribbon will put Magical Fantasy over $1 million in career earnings. While her recent form has been excellent, Gallagher said he knows it may not be good enough to win the BC Filly and Mare Turf.

"She definitely needs to keep improving," Gallagher said. "She's improved a little as the years go on."

Magical Fantasy is one of three Grade 1 winners in the Yellow Ribbon, along with Black Mamba and Internallyflawless. There are two other 2009 stakes winners in the field - Leamington and Lemonette.

Visit, second to Magical Fantasy in the Gamely, will attempt to end a nine-race losing streak dating back to a Group 3 in England in August 2008. She was fourth in the BC Filly and Mare Turf last year.

Black Mamba, 6, is nearing the end of her time with Doubledown Stables and trainer John Sadler. Black Mamba is scheduled to be sold as a racing or broodmare prospect in Kentucky next month.

Best in races at 1 1/4 miles or farther, Black Mamba has won two turf stakes this year - the Grade 2 Beverly Hills Handicap over 1 1/4 miles at Hollywood Park on June 28 and the CTT and TOC Handicap over 1 3/8 miles at Del Mar on Aug. 28. She has been third in the last two runnings of the Yellow Ribbon, to Nashoba's Key in 2007 and to Wait a While last year.

Internallyflawless won her first stakes in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks on Aug. 22, her most recent start. Trainer Bob Baffert is not overly concerned about trying Internallyflawless over 1 1/4 miles for the first time in the Yellow Ribbon. In the Del Mar Oaks over 1 1/8 miles on turf, she took the lead in early stretch and won by a half-length.

"I was surprised at the way she won," Baffert said. "She kept on going."