04/09/2012 3:34PM

Oaklawn Park: Amie’s Dini primed for a fight in Fantasy Stakes

Oaklawn Park/Coady Photography
Amie's Dini is the local favorite for the Grade 2, $300,000 Fantasy at Oaklawn Park.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Amie’s Dini loves a good fight, and she figures to have one on her hands Wednesday when she takes on shippers from California, Florida, and New York in the Grade 2, $300,000 Fantasy at Oaklawn Park.

The Fantasy, which is a prep for the Kentucky Oaks, opens the annual Racing Festival of the South. It is the first of nine stakes to be run over the final four dates of the Oaklawn meet, with cumulative purses for the races totaling $2.8 million. The series concludes with the running of the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby on Saturday.

Amie’s Dini is one of eight fillies in the Fantasy, a 1 1/16-mile race that has produced two of the last three winners of the Kentucky Oaks: Rachel Alexandra in 2009 and Blind Luck in 2010. Others set to start Wednesday include Mamma Kimbo and Jemima’s Pearl, both in from Santa Anita for trainer Bob Baffert; Wait Til Dawn, winner of the $50,000 Suncoast at Tampa Bay Downs last out who flew in Monday morning for trainer Todd Pletcher; and Off Limits, who scratched from the Grade 3 Comely at Aqueduct on Saturday in favor of the Fantasy.

“We’re excited about the race,” said Ron Moquett, who trains Amie’s Dini for Mike Walker and Lou Sutterfield. “Of course, just like any connections of any horse, you always like it to be a little bit easier. But it’s a good quality group of horses, and it will be a fun race for people to watch.”

Amie’s Dini, who won the $75,000 Martha Washington at Oaklawn in her two-turn debut Feb. 11, might have run the best race of her career in defeat last out. She was a stubborn second to On Fire Baby, a leading candidate for the Kentucky Oaks, in the Grade 3, $125,000 Honeybee at Oaklawn on March 10. Amie’s Dini set the pace in the 1 1/16-mile race and then put up a fight when engaged by On Fire Baby. In the end, Amie’s Dini ended up two lengths back, while earning a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 96.

“She ran her little heart out last time, and I’m glad that the [Fantasy] is spaced out enough to get her ready to go,” Moquett said. “We’ve got her built back up and ready to fire again.”

That was evident in Amie’s Dini’s final work for the Fantasy, when she cruised a half-mile in 47.80 seconds, the fastest of eight works at the distance April 4. Oaklawn head clocker Jim Hamilton had her final quarter in 23 seconds and galloping out five-eighths in 1:00.60. Jon Court was aboard for the move and has the mount in the Fantasy.

Amie’s Dini will break from post 8. She could get a tracking trip behind Mamma Kimbo, who drew the rail for her two-turn debut. She won a maiden special weight at Santa Anita on Feb. 18 with a Beyer of 101, a race in which she covered six furlongs in a blazing 1:07.80.

“If Baffert runs that filly that has shown tremendous speed, then we’ll sit right off of her,” Moquett said. “She’ll do anything we ask her to do. That’s one of the things that makes her good. She’s tactical, and she has heart.”

Moquett said one of his concerns for Wednesday is that Amie’s Dini will give four pounds to each of her rivals, except Wait Til Dawn. Both will tote 121 pounds as the stakes winners in the Fantasy.

Off Limits was second in her last start, which came in the $75,000 Busher at Aqueduct on Feb. 25.

“She was just touched off by a head last time,” said trainer Bill Mott, who will add blinkers to Off Limits’s equipment Wednesday.

Junior Alvarado has the mount for WinStar Farm.