June 22, 2024

Wet Paint enhances Oaks credentials in Fantasy romp; Hopper, Eyeing Clover win undercard stakes

Wet Paint wins the Fantasy Stakes (Photo by Coady Photography)

Wet Paint strengthened her case for Kentucky Oaks (G1) favoritism with an eye-catching performance in Saturday’s $600,000 Fantasy (G3) at Oaklawn Park, rallying last-to-first to win going away by 2 1/2 lengths.

Flavien Prat was up for Brad Cox on the Godolphin homebred daughter of Blame, and Wet Paint notched her third consecutive win in a Kentucky Oaks qualifier at Oaklawn, convincingly winning the Martha Washington S. in late January and the Honeybee (G3) on Feb. 25 from off the pace.

The bay filly was even more impressive gobbling up ground in the 1 1/16-mile Fantasy, blowing past nearly the entire field on the far turn and sweeping wide into the lead, and she’ll bring an exciting late kick to the Kentucky Oaks stretch at Churchill Downs.

Off as 3-5 favorite among 10 runners, Wet Paint was timed in 1:44.08. The Fantasy awarded points on a 100-40-30-20-10 basis to the top five finishers as a major qualifier in the Road to Kentucky Oaks series.

Taxed got up for second at 33-1, a half-length better than 50-1 Olivia Twist in third. It was another 2 1/4 lengths to Condensation, who was followed by pacesetter Grand Love, Pate, Towhead, Take Charge Briana, Royal Spa, and She’s Lookin Lucky.

Wet Paint improved her record to 6-4-1-0. After dropping her first start on turf last fall, she broke her maiden at Horseshoe Indianapolis the second time out and then finished second in an entry-level allowance on Turfway Park’s Tapeta track. Wet Paint is the first stakes winner from Grade 3 runner-up Sky Painter, a daughter of Street Cry.

Oaklawn Mile (G3)

Earlier on the program, Hopper fought off Caddo River to win the $400,000 Oaklawn Mile (G3), scoring by a 1 3/4-length margin. John Velazquez was up for Bob Baffert on the four-year-old colt, who notched his second graded stakes victory, and Hopper finished the mile in 1:37.63.

The son of Declaration of War left the starting gate as the 7-5 second choice, and tracked longshot Atoka until late on the far turn, advancing with Caddo River to contest the lead. Caddo River stuck a head in front with a furlong remaining, but Hopper fought back along the inside to regain the advantage, edging away late to win comfortably.

Caddo River, who was off at 6-1, held second by a neck over 6-5 favorite Smile Happy, who closed fast from last on the far turn to just miss second. Hero Status, Necker Island, Silver Prospector, and Atoka came next under the wire.

Lanni Bloodstock, Madaket Stables, and SF Racing own Hopper, a $90,000 yearling purchase, and the dark bay was bred in Kentucky by Green Lantern Stables. Winner of the Affirmed (G3) last summer in his stakes debut, Hopper finished second in January’s San Pasqual (G2) following a seven-month layoff, and he relished the cutback in distance after a fourth in the 1 1/4-mile Santa Anita H. (G1) on March 4. His career record reads 6-3-1-0.

Hot Springs S.

In the $200,000 Hot Springs S. for three-year-olds, Eyeing Clover advanced to take the lead entering the far turn and held Gun Pilot safe in the stretch by a length. The Brad Cox-trained colt rebounded from his first career setback, a fourth as the favorite in the Gotham (G3), and earned his first stakes win in the one-mile event. And Eyeing Clover utilized stalking after winning his first two starts wire-to-wire.

Florent Geroux was up on the 9-5 second choice, and Eyeing Clover was timed in 1:39.45. A $55,000 yearling purchase, the chestnut Lookin at Lucky colt is campaigned by Ten Strike Racing.

Gun Pilot offered a bid on the far turn but could never seriously challenge the winner in the short stretch, winding up 6 1/2 lengths clear of third as the 6-5 choice. Cactus, Powerful, and Rocking Rocket completed the order in the five-horse field.