04/19/2010 11:00PM

Mr. Fantasy taking on N.Y.-breds

Email

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Trainer Mike Hushion and the ownership group West Point Thoroughbreds had been pointing Rereadthefootnotes to Wednesday's $60,000 Billy Redcoat Stakes for New York-breds going seven furlongs at Aqueduct.

But when Rereadthefootnotes came up with an ankle chip, Hushion and West Point altered course and opted to go with Mr. Fantasy instead. Considering Mr. Fantasy is a Grade 3 winner who is 2 for 2 against New York-breds, Hushion and West Point are playing an equally strong, if not stronger, hand.

The Billy Redcoat drew a field of 10 New York-bred sprinters and marks the seasonal debuts of stakes winners Groomedforvictory and Uncle T Seven. Mr. Fantasy, away from the races for 11 months after winning the Grade 3 Withers here last April, needs to improve on his third-place finish in a third-level allowance at Gulfstream last month to get the job done here.

In that open-company race on March 18, Mr. Fantasy opened up a two-length lead while running an opening quarter mile in 21.74 seconds. He eventually faded to finish third behind Formidable, who subsequently won a turf allowance race.

Ramon Dominguez went to Florida specifically to ride Mr. Fantasy that day, but may have gotten his horse caught up in a hot pace. Dominguez will be back aboard Wednesday.

"After the race, Ramon was clear he wished he hadn't done it," Hushion said of allowing Mr. Fantasy to go that fast early. "It might have seemed like a wasted trip, but I'm really happy he's been on him once now."

While Hushion felt Mr. Fantasy was training well going into that race, he hopes the race was "a little bit of a wake-up call for him."

Mr. Fantasy won't be too far off the lead, but there is other speed in the field, including Dr. W, Monte Carlo, and possibly Mor Chances.

A contested pace would aid the chances of Groomedforvictory and Uncle T Seven, both of whom are hoping to pick up where they left off in 2009. Groomedforvictory won three consecutive races - all at a one-turn mile - to end his 4-year-old campaign last year, including an overnight stakes over the main track Nov. 22. Dominguez was aboard for all three of those victories, but opted to stick with Mr. Fantasy. David Cohen rides Groomedforvictory.

Uncle T Seven makes his first start since Nov. 15.