12/31/2009 12:00AM

Oaks breaking right for Antares World


Trainer Steve Specht has heard the old admonition to be careful what you wish for because it might come true.

He's willing to take his chances after his wishes seemingly all came true for Friday's $75,000 California Oaks at Golden Gate Fields.

Specht will saddle likely favorite Antares World and was concerned whether the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies would fill.

It did, thanks to Specht entering recent $12,500 maiden claiming winner Veillit', owned and bred by Larry and Marianne Williams, the owners-breeders of Antares World. Veillit', who runs uncoupled from Antares World, was the fifth runner entered and made the race go.

Antares World, who lost by a head to Salty Fries in the Dec. 5 Corte Madera, could have run in last Sunday's $100,000 California Breeders' Championship at Santa Anita. But Specht opted to stay home.

"We had a race to run here and not have to go anywhere," he said. "Any time you can run on your home track instead of shipping, it's to your advantage."

The presence in the California Oaks field of undefeated Seeking the Queen was also a wish come true for Specht. Seeking the Queen has three straight wire-to-wire wins - including one over Antares World in a sprint - and will set the pace Friday.

"I didn't want to be on the lead," Specht said. "That will ensure a fast pace."

Specht is confident Antares World can run down Seeking the Queen in the lane.

If Seeking the Queen can relax up front, she has the breeding to go 1 1/16 miles and turn Specht's wish into a curse.

This is Seeking the Queen's first test around two turns, and trainer Lloyd Mason admits he wishes the race were only one mile. Mason said he has had success stretching out runners by Sought After, Seeking the Queen's unraced sire, and that jockey Russell Baze told him he thinks she will go long.

"All I did with her is every third or fourth day gallop her two miles," he said. "She puts a lot into her gallops."

Seeking the Queen will clearly be everyone's target early, but Antares World will need to be wary of the undefeated Young Paris, who is also stretching out off three sprint wins.