INGLEWOOD, Calif. (May 30, 2009) — Magical Fantasy, overlooked at 6-1, rallied from fifth with a furlong to run to post her second straight graded victory under jockey Alex Solis in the $319,000 Gamely Stakes on Saturday at Hollywood Park.
Magical Fantasy, who beat many of her Gamely rivals last month in the Santa Barbara Handicap at Santa Anita Park, was given a perfect trip by Solis as she caught Visit and favorite Diamond Diva in the closing strides to win the Grade I event by a neck.
The 4-year-old Paddy Gallagher-trained filly covered 1 1/8 miles on the Lakeside Turf Course in 1:48.18 while paying $14.20, $7 and $4.40 as the fourth choice in the field of nine fillies and mares. The upset was the trend Saturday as there were no perfect Pick Six tickets. The carryover entering Sunday’s program is $124,071.
Visit, one of two horses from the Bobby Frankel barn as the Hall of Fame trainer aimed for his ninth Gamely victory, beat Diamond Diva by a nose for second money, returning $9.20 and $5.60. The show payoff on the latter was $3.20. Second-choice Black Mamba finished fourth.
Solis rode Magical Fantasy with confidence, biding his time while saving ground along the inside as the field rounded the far turn. He found room to the outside early in the stretch, and once clear, Magical Fantasy began making up ground, but she needed the full nine furlongs to corral Visit and Diamond Diva.
“She’s such a professional, you can do anything you want with her,” Solis said. “She’s really game and she’s getting better and better. I was surprised to see her pay $14 — she just beat the same kind. We had a great trip. At the top of the stretch I thought I had a good chance to win the race and I just wanted to make sure that I moved steadily and not make one strong move. I was afraid of Black Mamba coming late, but I never saw her.”
Magical Fantasy, owned by David Bienstock, Paul Mandabach and Charles Winner, held off Black Mamba by a nose to win the Santa Barbara on April 18. Prior to that, her last victory came at odds of 42-1 in the 2008 Del Mar Oaks.
Now a winner of four of 15 starts, she banked $196,800 Saturday to boost her winnings to $649,231.
“It looked like there was a bunch of horses with a chance that last sixteenth of a mile,” said Gallagher, who combined with Solis for a pair of wins on the card. “It looked like the pace scratched out of the race, but there’s nothing you can do. Alex put her in a great spot all the way.”
Brice Blanc, the rider of Visit, was aboard the Great Britain-bred for the first time.
“I really didn’t know too much about this filly,” he said. “Bobby told me she might be a little keen, but she settled down beautifully and finished nice.”
Diamond Diva, winner of the CashCall Mile here in 2008, seemed anxious to run early although jockey David Flores was able to keep her on the heels of pacesetter and eventual eighth-place finisher Ainamaa.
“The turf was a little soft and she got a little tired,” Flores said. “I thought she was going to be ready but she was still a little short. We were going real slow early and she picked it up at the top of the stretch. This is probably the race that will get her ready for next time.”
Martin Garcia rode three winners on Saturday’s ten-race card, while Victor Espinoza and Solis each rode two. Ed Moger Jr. joined Gallagher by saddling a pair of winners.
Racing resumes Sunday at Hollywood Park with a 1 p.m. post time. Feature event is the $150,000 Honeymoon Handicap.
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