04/24/2009 11:00PM

Mr. Fantasy overcomes gate woes


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Jockey Richard Migliore believes Mr. Fantasy has the talent to run in the Preakness. Whether he has the temperament is another story.

Saturday, Mr. Fantasy overcame his own mental immaturity to record a 1 3/4-length victory in the Grade 3, $150,000 Withers Stakes before a crowd of 4,552 at Aqueduct. This Ones for Phil, who had a tough trip under Ramon Dominguez, finished second, 7 1/4 lengths ahead of Gone Astray. Just a Coincidence and Supreme Summit, who bore out terribly down the backstretch, completed the order of finish. Seal Team and Everyday Heroes scratched.

The victory was the third in four career races for Mr. Fantasy, a New York-bred son of E Dubai trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and owned by West Point Thoroughbreds. It was his first stakes win and first victory against open company.

The race itself was the easy part for Mr. Fantasy. In the paddock, he was extremely difficult to saddle. Assistant trainer Artie Magnuson had to saddle him in the walking ring and the horse got significantly hot.

Migliore said Mr. Fantasy got temperamental going to the starting gate and was not standing correctly when the doors opened. He bumped with Supreme Summit leaving the gate. With Supreme Summit bearing out, Migliore guided Mr. Fantasy to the inside where he finally settled while Supreme Summit set fractions of 23.11 seconds and 45.90. Mr. Fantasy poked his head in front at the three-eighths pole, opened up a 3 1/2-length lead at the eighth pole, and cruised home an easy winner. Mr. Fantasy ran a mile in 1:34.91 and returned $8.60 to win.

"He's always going to be a horse with a fabulous amount of ability," Migliore said. "Getting him to get over to the gate in the right order and doing things that aren't detrimental to him" is important.

"If he would act better, I believe he would warrant a chance at the Preakness just because how shifty he is, he'd be like driving a Maserati," Migliore added. "But what's he going to do with 100,000 people screaming at him and they say 'It is now post time,' and the infield crowd erupts?"

The Preakness is one of several options for Mr. Fantasy's next start, though no decision on that race is imminent.

This Ones for Phil, the Withers favorite, was further back than expected early on and was steadied repeatedly by Dominguez.