02/17/2007 1:00AM

Oprah Winney gets first graded win


LAUREL, Md. - Oprah Winney turned back all challenges to notch her third straight stakes triumph, and first in a graded race, when she led virtually every step of the way Saturday in the Grade 2, $285,000 Barbara Fritchie Breeders' Cup Handicap at Laurel Park.

Ridden by Mike Smith, Oprah Winney returned $8.20 to win after turning back a bid from Silmaril to prevail by three-quarters of a length. Smart and Fancy finished third, another length back, while Leah's Secret, the 2-1 favorite in a field of eight fillies and mares, was away poorly and was never a factor, coming in fifth.

Oprah Winney was making her second start since being laid up following a victory last May in the restricted Bouwerie at Belmont Park. She returned Jan. 1 with a gate-to-wire triumph in the Interborough at Aqueduct, her home base, and was vanned here early Saturday for the seven-furlong Fritchie. Breaking from the inside post, Oprah Winney sped away to grab early command, then remained clear en route to finishing in 1:24.92 over a fast track.

"When a filly has speed like she does, you've got to let her go right away," said Smith.

Silmaril's rider, Ryan Fogelsonger, lodged an objection alleging interference in the stretch, but it was dismissed.

Oprah Winney, a gray 4-year-old filly by Royal Academy, is owned by Sanford Goldfarb, Michael Dubb, and the Bunch of Characters Stable. Until last week, the filly had been trained by New York-based trainer Richard Dutrow Jr., who is serving a suspension. Dutrow's brother Tony was the trainer of record Saturday, while yet another Dutrow brother, Chip, represented the family in the winner's presentation. The family hails from Maryland.

Campbell: Future Fantasy pours it on

One race later, Future Fantasy ($28.60) launched a ferocious late run to pull away in the final furlong of the $83,000 John B. Campbell Handicap.

With Winston Thompson aboard for trainer Leona McKanas, Future Fantasy finished 4 3/4 lengths ahead of Due, while Bank President, the even-money favorite, faded to be third. The winning time for 1 1/8 miles was 1:53.74.

* The Fritchie was the first leg, and the Campbell the fourth, in the national Magna 5 wager. Tickets with 5 of 5 winners (1-8-4-11-9) returned $79,200.80 for $2. All-sources handle on the Magna 5 was $508,272.