03/04/2009 12:00AM

Top speeds side by side in Gotham


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Mr. Fantasy and Haynesfield, the two horses with the most early speed, won't have to look too far to find each other as they drew side by side when post positions were assigned Wednesday for Saturday's Grade 3, $250,000 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct.

Mr. Fantasy, who has won his first two starts by 19 lengths, landed in post 5 while Haynesfield, who has won his last four starts by 19 1/2 lengths, will break from post 6 in the nine-horse field of 3-year-olds hoping to get on the Kentucky Derby trail.

Inside of that duo, from the rail, are Naos, Russell Road, Masala, and Axel Foley. Outside of Haynesfield are Imperial Council, I Want Revenge, and Giant Ryan. The Gotham, run at 1 1/16 miles over the inner track, heads a 10-race card that also includes the Grade 3 Toboggan Stakes for older sprinters.

Mr. Fantasy, a New York-bred son of EoDubai, won his first two starts in front-running fashion, including a gate-to-wire score in a two-turn statebred allowance race in which he broke from post 10.

"We think he's going to be close," said Art Magnuson, assistant to Kiaran McLaughlin, the trainer of Mr. Fantasy. "Whether he's on the lead or not will be up to Alan [Garcia]. We're going to break and be thinking forward as Alan usually does, but it's totally up to him from there."

Haynesfield has won from both on and off the pace under Ramon Dominguez. With Dominguez out of town Saturday, Haynesfield will be ridden by Chuck Lopez, who has built a reputation as top front-end rider.

"Chucky has a reputation indeed, but that's not why we chose him," said Toby Sheets, assistant to Haynesfield's trainer, Steve Asmussen. "He's doing well here, I think he fits the horse - our horse is not a horse that's going to come from 15 back. Chucky rides closer to the front very well, and he's very familiar with the inner track."

Eric Donovan, NYRA's oddsmaker, installed Imperial Council as the 5-2 morning-line favorite. Imperial Council, trained by three-time Gotham winner Shug McGaughey, will be making his stakes and two-turn debut in the Gotham. Rajiv Maragh replaces Edgar Prado, who is committed to ride in California.

I Want Revenge, beaten a nose in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity last December, arrived on the grounds at 4:15 p.m Wednesday after a cross-country flight from California. The Gotham will mark his first start on regular dirt.