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2009 Withers Stakes Results

Richard Migliore and Mr. Fantasy return after winning the 2009 Withers Stakes

Photos courtesy of Nancy Rokos

Date: 04/26/2009

The $150,000 Withers Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct is the last Kentucky Derby prep race on the New York circuit, but is more likely to be used for horses targeting the Preakness or Belmont. A field of just 5 three-year-olds went to post in this 1 mile event on a warm sunny Saturday afternoon, with This Ones for Phil sent off as the 9-5 favorite, who won the Swale Stakes by disqualification after finishing fifth in the Fountain of Youth, both at Gulfstream Park. In to challenge him included 5-2 second choice Just a Coincidence, third in the Wood Memorial behind I Want Revenge last out, and 3-1 third choice Mr. Fantasy, third in the Gotham after winning his first two career starts.

Mr. Fantasy nears the finish

5-1 longest shot Supreme Summit stumbled at the start but was hustled to the lead exiting the chute by jockey Eibar Coa. Supreme Summit opened up a 3 length lead after a quarter in 23.11, with Mr. Fantasy stalking him in second. Supreme Summit continued to lead down the backstretch and into the turn, getting the half in 45.90, but tired entering the stretch, allowing Mr. Fantasy to take over, getting 3/4 in 1:10.18. This One's for Phil, who dropped back to last early, put in a rally through the stretch but could not catch Mr. Fantasy, who cruised under the line 1 3/4 lengths in front in 1:34.91. It was a long 7 1/2 lengths back from This Ones for Phil to 9-2 fourth choice Gone Astray in third.

Terry Finley, president of Mr. Fantasy's owner West Point Thoroughbreds said, "The Preakness is certainly on the table, but so is the Met Mile. He would get a nice, little weight advantage and 3-year-olds have done very well in that race. It's probably between those two. But we'll look at what happens in the Derby and go from there. We're in a good spot with this colt. It was only his fourth start."

Pgm  Horse              Jockey         Win   Place   Show
 5   Mr. Fantasy        Migliore      8.60    4.10   2.50
 1   This Ones for Phil Dominguez             3.30   2.30
 2   Gone Astray        Prado                        2.80

Winning Time:  1:34.91

$2 Exacta 5-1                  23.80
$2 Trifecta 5-1-2              68.50

Full results chart

Left: Mr. Fantasy in the paddock before the race. Artie Magnuson, assistant to winning trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said, "He was a little hot in the paddock. He's not tough to handle, but he's a little bit tougher than we are. I think he does better when he gets out on the course and away from everybody. I was glad it didn't take anything out of the race."

Right: Mr. Fantasy in the post parade. Winning jockey Richard Migliore said, "My horse broke in a bit of a tangle, but he's such an athlete that he sorted himself out in two strides. I was able to drop him in and he was idling along nicely. He's got multiple moves. When I pushed the button, he just sprinted. I didn't want to hit him. At the 1/16 pole, the race was over. Kiaran (McLaughlin) and Artie (Magnuson) have done a tremendous job managing his mental attitude. If he would act better, I'd think he'd deserve a shot at the Preakness; he's that talented. Maybe in maturity, he'll pop out. But he's the best horse I've sat on in a while."

Second place finisher and beaten favorite This Ones for Phil heads over to the paddock before the race. The 9-5 favorite dropped back to last exiting the chute under new jockey Ramon Dominguez, encountered traffic trouble on the turn, came through on the rail but was no match for the winner. The Richard Dutrow Jr. trainee improved his record to 4 wins, 2 seconds, and 1 third in 12 starts, earning $355,340 for owners Paul Pompa Jr., Jack Mandato, and Michael Dubb.

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