04/06/2012 2:02PM

Oaklawn: Baffert pair from California among eight fillies for Fantasy

Benoit & Associates
The filly Mamma Kimbo, who earned a 101 Beyer Speed Figure for her debut victory, is one of two horses Bob Baffert plans to bring to Oaklawn Park for the Fantasy.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – The Grade 2, $300,000 Fantasy will open Oaklawn Park’s annual Racing Festival of the South on Wednesday, with a field of eight fillies entered in the race that could produce starters for the Kentucky Oaks.

The Fantasy, at 1 1/16 miles, is the first of eight stakes to be run over the final four dates of the Oaklawn meet. The races, which make up the festival, are worth a cumulative $2.8 million. The richest include the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby, which will close out the meet when it is run on Saturday, April 14. The multiple Grade 2 winner On Fire Baby had been under serious consideration for the Fantasy, but with her owner, Anita Cauley, deciding on Thursday morning to instead go straight to the Kentucky Oaks, the Fantasy drew more horses than expected when entries were taken on Friday.

Trainer Bob Baffert has two representatives in the race: Mamma Kimbo, who earned a Beyer Figure of 101 for a debut win at Santa Anita in February, and Jemima’s Pearl, winner of an optional $80,000 claimer at Santa Anita in her last start March 9.

The complete field from the rail with riders is: Mamma Kimbo, Mike Smith; Wait Til Dawn, Javier Castellano; Kitty Kat Karly, Luis Quinonez; Livi Makenzie, Greta Kuntzweiler; Jemima’s Pearl, Joe Talamo; Off Limits, Junior Alvarado; Illegally Blonde, Terry Thompson; and Amie’s Dini, Jon Court.

Off Limits, who is to add blinkers, was cross-entered in the Grade 3, $250,000 Comely at Aqueduct on Saturday.

“I think we’re leaning toward the Fantasy,” trainer Bill Mott said late Thursday.

Off Limits races for WinStar Farm.

The Fantasy will go as the ninth race on the lone Wednesday card of the meet. There will be 10 races in all. First post is 1:30 p.m. Central, with the Fantasy post set for 5:11 p.m.