April 6, 2014
HOT SPRINGS, AR (Saturday, April 5, 2014) – One race after being disqualified from first and placed second in the March 8 Honeybee Stakes (G3), On Cloud Nine LLC’s Sugar Shock left no room for doubt with her front-running victory in Saturday’s $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) before an on-track crowd of 19,878. The Fantasy kicked off Oaklawn’s Racing Festival of the South, which continues through closing day April 12.
Taking advantage of her rail position, Sugar Shock broke on top and never looked back. She led the field of seven through early fractions of :23 1/5 and :46 4/5 while being tracked closely by Kiss Moon, who was never more than a length behind from the start. The top two were never seriously challenged as Sugar Shock continued on gamely to the wire, winning by a half length over her main rival. Euphrosyne, the beneficiary of Sugar Shock’s disqualification in the Honeybee, had to settle for third, 3 ½ lengths behind the runner up. The winner completed the 1 1/16-mile race in 1:43 4/5 over a fast track.
“She broke so sharp, but I was hoping she would turn it off a little down the backside,” said winning rider Channing Hill. “She was always comfortable. Once she turned into stretch I felt her take a few deep breaths and I knew she’d be tough from there. I was glad Terry’s horse (Kiss Moon) was there to keep us honest and that we made the decision at the finish and not the stewards.”
Sugar Shock improved her record to three wins from six starts and she has now earned $343,130. In addition to the purse money, the Candy Ride (Arg) filly also earned 100 points for the win towards eligibility for the $1 million Kentucky Oaks May 2 and is now ranked second among all 3-year-old fillies with 121 points.
“We’re just ecstatic," said winning trainer Doug Anderson, who was picking up the first graded stakes of his career. "She’s such a joy to be around. It sure is a possibility that she’ll go to the Kentucky Oaks. We’ll see how she comes out of this.”
The winner returned $8.20, $4.60 and $3.20 as the 3-1 second choice. The 5-2 post-time favorite Please Explain never fired and finished sixth.
Live racing resumes at Oaklawn Sunday at 1:30 p.m. with a nine-race card highlighted by the $100,000 Carousel Stakes. The final four days of the 2014 race meet kick off Wednesday, April 9 and continues through Saturday, April 12 when the season culminates with the 78th running of the $1 million Arkansas Derby.