08/12/2009 12:00AM

Magical Fantasy eyes rarity

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Benoit & Associates
Magical Fantasy, with Alex Solis riding, wins the Grade 1 Gamely at Hollywood Park in her last start.

DEL MAR, Calif. - The Del Mar Oaks began as a dirt race and was moved to the turf in 1965. The Ramona Handicap, now known as the John Mabee Stakes, also began as a dirt race and was moved to the turf in 1970. In the nearly 40 years since then, only three fillies - Country Queen, Amorama, and the great Hall of Famer Flawlessly, who won the Ramona three times - have been able to win the Oaks at age 3 and return to win the Mabee the following year. On Sunday at Del Mar, Magical Fantasy will try to add her name to that exclusive list.

Magical Fantasy was a 42-1 shot when she won the Grade 1 Oaks last year, but she will be one of the top choices in the Grade 1 Mabee, being as she heads into the race off a pair of stakes wins at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park.

"She's just like most horses in that she's gotten bigger and stronger and more mature with the extra year," said her trainer, Paddy Gallagher. "Her races have been more consistent this year."

After losing a pair of races on Pro-Ride at Santa Anita, Magical Fantasy captured the Santa Barbara Handicap on turf at Santa Anita, then the Grade 1 Gamely on turf at Hollywood Park.

"She's won here, and we're very lucky that she's run well at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park, too," Gallagher said.

Alex Solis, the regular rider for Magical Fantasy, will be back aboard on Sunday for the 1 1/8-mile Mabee. Their rivals are expected to include Bel Air Sizzle (Alonso Quinonez the rider), Briecat (Martin Garcia), Charming Legacy (Joe Talamo), Gotta Have Her (Tyler Baze), Meydan Princess (David Flores), Patricia's Gem (Victor Espinoza), Tuscan Evening (Joel Rosario), and Visit (Brice Blanc).

The Mabee offers an automatic berth in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf through the Win and You're In program.

I'll Show Them heads La Jolla

I'll Show Them won his debut sprinting on the main track June 13 at Hollywood Park, then stretched out and won a two-turn allowance race on the turf on July 2. He is blessed with incredible natural talent, but cursed to have front legs that go every which way.

"If I couldn't train him on synthetic tracks he wouldn't have made it, the way he travels," his trainer, David Hofmans, said Tuesday morning.

I'll Show Them will try to continue his rapid ascension up the class ladder on Saturday, when he makes his stakes debut in the Grade 2, $150,000 La Jolla Handicap for 3-year-olds on the Del Mar turf. Based on his allowance win, he will be one of the top choices, despite his inexperience.

"I thought his last race was excellent," Hofmans said. "He's a pretty talented horse."

I'll Show Them, a gelding, is by Smarty Jones out of the excellent Seattle Slew mare Top Rung. He was bred and is owned by the Glen Hill Farm of Leonard Lavin.

In order to get the hat trick, I'll Show Them will have to beat Gretsky, as well as Arcodoro, I.B. Outta Here, Massone, New Bay, Rendezvous, and possibly Meteore and Position A.

White new Santa Anita line-maker

Jon White has been named the new morning line-maker at Santa Anita, replacing Jeff Tufts, who recently retired from his positions at both Santa Anita and Del Mar. Russell Hudak, the line-maker at Hollywood Park, has taken over at Del Mar.

White will begin with the opening of the Oak Tree meeting on Sept. 30.

"Jeff Tufts was without question one of the great line-makers in the history of this sport," said Ron Charles, the president of Santa Anita. "His sudden retirement caught all of us off-guard, and I just want to say how grateful we are here at Santa Anita to have been blessed with a person of his impeccable character and capacity for all of these years. Since 1974, Jeff, in my opinion, set a gold standard for other line-makers around the country."

White, 54, currently is an anchor with HRTV. His background in racing is extensive. He worked for 25 years for Daily Racing Form as a handicapper, writer, and trackman, and has worked as a steward in Washington and Idaho. He also has made the line at Fairplex Park, and for the Southern California circuit in the Los Angeles Times from 1982 to 1990.

"Jon is well known and well respected," Charles said. "He's obviously got some big shoes to fill, but we think he's ready and more than capable. We look forward to a long and successful relationship."

Appropriate win for Inda

It's hard to believe that a trainer as good as Eduardo Inda has exactly one horse in his care right now. Inda, a longtime assistant to Ron McAnally, has been on his own for more than a decade, and in that time has trained such outstanding runners as Borodislew and Riboletta.

Inda made the most of that one horse on Sunday, when the mare Pericia Fina won an allowance race on the undercard of the Clement Hirsch Stakes. It was the late Hirsch who brought Inda to the United States 40 years ago from Chile. And Inda trains Pericia Fina for a partnership that includes Hirsch's son Bo.

"God bless Mr. Hirsch. He's the one who brought me to this country," Inda said. "Without him, I would not be in this beautiful country.

Pericia Fina won twice in her native Chile before coming to the United States. She is now 1 for 7 in this country.

"We bought her because she still had all her allowance conditions," Inda said.

'Nature Boy' Homewood dies

There are few true racetrack characters any more, and one fewer now following the death of Michael Drew Homewood, better known as "Nature Boy," who died last week in Glendora, Calif., following a stroke. He was 66.

Homewood worked on the racetrack in on both coasts for more than 40 years as a groom, hotwalker, trainer, and owner. He worked for trainers such as Frank Childs, Reggie Cornell, Allen Jerkens, John Pappalardo, and Clyde Turk. The best horse he was associated with was the brilliant sprinter Zany Tactics, who won the Bing Crosby Handicap in 1987 for trainer Blake Heap.

Homewood is survived by his cousins Kathy Pizzillo and Wendy Shakleford.

* Victor Espinoza has been fined $300 by Del Mar's stewards for misuse of the whip, resulting in welts or breaks in the skin of the filly North Rodeo, who finished fourth in the fourth race on July 24.

* Apprentice jockey Christian Santiago Reyes, having lost a bid in San Diego County Superior Court to have a temporary restraining order imposed on a five-day suspension issued by Del Mar's stewards, will now have to begin that careless-riding suspension on Saturday.

Correction: An earlier version of this story included a photo caption that misidentified the jockey on Magical Fantasy. It is Alex Solis, not Alan Garcia.