04/09/2016 6:54PM

Terra Promessa heads one-two finish for Asmussen in Fantasy

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Terra Promessa and stablemate Taxable will both head to the Kentucky Oaks after a close finish in the Fantasy.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Terra Promessa will head to the Kentucky Oaks unbeaten around two turns after she held off stablemate Taxable to win her fourth straight race Saturday in the Grade 3, $400,000 Fantasy at Oaklawn Park.

The fillies trained by Steve Asmussen earned a respective 100 points and 40 points toward the May 6 classic at Churchill Downs.

“We’re definitely trying to get to the Oaks with both fillies, and felt this was the best opportunity for them,” said Asmussen.

Terra Promessa was a neck winner over Taxable, who had won both of her starts heading into the Fantasy. It was another 5 3/4 lengths back in third to Ready Confess, who picked up 20 points toward the Oaks. Cosmic Evolution finished fourth to earn 10 points Saturday. 

The Fantasy launched the $3.75 million Racing Festival of the South at Oaklawn, which will feature nine major stakes over the final week of its meet that closes next Saturday. The Fantasy was the first of five graded stakes on offer during the festival, which continues Sunday with the Grade 3, $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap.

Terra Promessa ($2.80) raced a few lengths off Cosmic Evolution, Florida Bird, and Ready to Confess, who battled through fractions of 23.57 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 46.96 for the half-mile. Terra Promessa advanced on the final turn, opened up the race in the stretch, and then held off a bid from Taxable to cover 1 1/16 miles on a track rated fast in 1:45.06.

“That’s a really, really nice filly,” winning rider Ricardo Santana Jr., said of Terra Promessa. “She’s hard-trying. Every race she’s doing better and better. I really like my filly for the Oaks. I think we really have a good chance in that race.”

Taxable was a pick-up mount for Joe Rocco Jr. after Corey Nakatani was off his mounts Saturday.

“My filly ran really well,” Rocco said. “We sat off the favorite and took our time, picked our way through the field. When I called on her, she gave me a nice run and I thought we were going to get by the other filly.”

Terra Promessa races for her breeder, Stonestreet Stables. She began her win streak in her two-turn debut last November at Churchill Downs, where she won a maiden special weight at 1 1/16 miles. Terra Promessa proceeded to win a first-level allowance at Oaklawn by nine lengths Feb. 5, then the track’s Grade 3, $200,000 Honeybee by 6 1/2 lengths March 12.

Terra Promessa earned $240,000 for the win in the Fantasy to improve her career earnings to $440,600. Overall, she has won 4 of 5 starts. Terra Promessa is a daughter of Curlin who was bred in Kentucky. 

The estimated ontrack crowd Saturday at Oaklawn was 17,500.