12/07/2005 12:00AM

Rich Fantasy to skip Debutante

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Four-Footed Fotos
Rich Fantasy, winning the Showtime Deb, could try a route race next.

CHICAGO - Just two stakes remain on the Chicago racing calendar for 2005, and Saturday's Pat Whitworth Debutante for Illinois-bred 2-year-old fillies will have to do without the horse who probably would have been favored.

Rich Fantasy, who won the $92,000 Showtime Deb Stakes here Nov. 12, is now based at Louisiana Downs and will not make the trip back to Chicago for the Debutante, trainer Ronny Werner said Wednesday. Werner said he felt the break between the Showtime Deb and the Debutante wasn't sufficient for Rich Fantasy, who had run hard on three weeks' rest in her stakes win last time out.

"I didn't want to wheel her back that quick," Werner said. "I already did that once, and I didn't want to do it again."

Rich Fantasy won her maiden by more than 20 lengths before scoring a hard-fought victory in the Showtime Deb. Werner said he believes Rich Fantasy bounced off the big maiden score and won on class and heart. "But I think if we tried to bring her back again, it would've been too much," he said.

Rich Fantasy never has raced beyond a sprint distance, and the Debutante is contested at 1 1/16 miles, but Werner said he believes Rich Fantasy can handle a distance of ground and is pointing her to a route race at the Fair Grounds meet at Louisiana Downs.

"I think she's going to be a special filly, and we hope she doesn't have to hook Illinois-breds to be successful," said Werner.

But even without Rich Fantasy, the Debutante should at least be decent. Expected to start are Cause She's Crafty, Jambalaya Joy, Lampoon, Lovely Love, Rolling Sea, Storm Rolling In, Trick of the South, and perhaps a couple of maidens. Lovely Love came within a half-length of Rich Fantasy in the Showtime Deb, and Storm Rolling In and Trick of the South exit an open stakes at Churchill Downs.

Mr. C Note tops 12-horse feature

This is the time of year, with Fair Grounds kicking into gear and the meets at Gulfstream and Oaklawn on the horizon, that entries at Hawthorne start to slow. But 97 horses were entered on a nine-race card Friday, and average field size at this meet is at 8.97 per race, according to Hawthorne racing secretary Gary Duch.

"Usually what would happen is right around Thanksgiving till around the middle of December the field size would drop off pretty good, then the end of the meet it would really pick up," Duch said.

Duch said he isn't certain why entries have stayed strong, but Hurricane Katrina might have something to do with it. Many Chicago outfits traditionally winter in New Orleans, and some have kept a stronger presence at Hawthorne this year with the Fair Grounds meet moving to Louisiana Downs.

With 12 horses entered, the Friday feature, for second-level Illinois-bred allowance horses at 1 1/16 miles, typifies the card. And the feature field is both full and highly competitive.

Mr. C Note may be favored - he usually is - but he has failed to win in eight starts this season, taking down chalk-players at odds of 6-5, even-money, and twice at 4-5 in his various losses. In fact, Mr. C Note's best race of 2005 came two races ago, when he was 5-1 in an open second-level allowance race. There also is the question of racing surface, since Mr. C Note's two victories have come on turf, and he has compiled a 5-0-1-3 record on dirt.

The other horse likely to get significant betting action, Yesterday Evening, seems more reliable. His two wins have come in eight starts compared to Mr. C Note's 13, and he has raced only once at this allowance condition, finishing second to stablemate Dress for Success on Nov. 18. Yesterday Evening is a horse who needs pace at which to run, but there are several speed horses entered, and Yesterday Evening might get the right trip.