08/16/2009 12:00AM

Magical Fantasy finds room in Mabee

Benoit & Associates
Magical Fantasy and Alex Solis win the Grade 1 Mabee at Del Mar on Sunday, making her the fourth filly to win both the Del Mar Oaks and the Mabee.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Magical Fantasy won her third straight graded stakes race, and became only the fourth filly in 40 years to capture both the Del Mar Oaks and the John Mabee Stakes, with an emphatic victory on Sunday in the Grade 1 Mabee at Del Mar.

Magical Fantasy ($6.40), the favorite, was bottled up in traffic near the back of a bunched field while going around the far turn, but she was able to secure room between horses about four paths off the rail at the top of the stretch and quickly attacked the leaders. She closed from seventh in the nine-horse field and rolled past her rivals to win by one length over Gotta Have Her, with pacesetting Patricia's Gem another half-length back in third.

Under regular rider Alex Solis, Magical Fantasy completed 1 1/8 miles on firm turf in 1:47.17 while flying through her final three furlongs in less than 35 seconds.

"She's so full of confidence," Solis said. "She loves it here at Del Mar."

Magical Fantasy, 4, won the Santa Barbara Handicap at Santa Anita in April, and the Grade 1 Gamely at Hollywood Park in May. In a division that has yet to yield a clear-cut standout, her unbeaten record on turf this year, combined with a pair of Grade 1 wins, makes her a top contender for a year-end championship.

With the win, Magical Fantasy earned an automatic berth into the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf through the Breeders' Cup's Win and You're In program.

Paddy Gallagher trains Magical Fantasy for a partnership of David Bienstock, Paul Mandabach, and Chuck Winner. She has now won 5 of 16 starts, including 4 of 10 on turf.

Magical Fantasy was a 42-1 upset winner of last year's Oaks. The Mabee marked the first time she has been favored in 11 starts since being repatriated from Great Britain.

Magical Fantasy joins Queen to Conquer, Flawlessly, and Amorama as winners of the Oaks and the Mabee, which was known as the Ramona Handicap until 2001.