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Fantastic Pick Upsets Oak Tree Derby

Fantastic Pick, the longest shot in the field at 22-1, edged pacesetter Blue Panis after an eighth of a mile long battle to win the $150,000 Oak Tree Derby Saturday at Hollywood Park.


The biggest surprise in the 41-year history of the Derby was one of a handful of Saturday upsets, so there will be a Pick Six carryover of $96,568 when racing resumes Sunday.


Post time is 1 p.m. The Pick Six, which has carried over three times in the last five racing days, begins in the fourth race.


Trained by Jamie Lloyd for owners Jim Ford, Robert Maycock and Ken Smole,  Fantastic Pick, a 3-year-old Fantastic Light gelding out of the Mtoto mare Umlilo, earned the most significant win of his career in the Grade II. It was also the first graded stakes victory for his trainer.


Providing jockey Corey Nakatani with his initial score in the race, Fantastic Pick, who won by a head, ran the 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:48.51. The victory was the third in the last four starts – all since adding blinkers - for the English bred. Overall, he’s captured five of 15 and earned $191,773.


In a race devoid of pace, Blue Panis, a French bred making his United States debut after winning three times in his native land, made the lead under Joe Talamo with Fantastic Pick his closest pursuer.


In his first start beyond a mile, Blue Panis got away with slow fractions (24.22, 49.21 and 1:13.24 for six furlongs) and fought hard all the way to the finish, but had to settle for second.


Kid Edward, the 5-2 second choice, was a half-length behind Blue Panis in third. Sebastian Flyte, an 8-1 shot, was a neck back in fourth. Haimish Hy, Jairzinho, Royal F J and Make Music for Me, the 2-1 choice in his first race since he was 10th in the Belmont Stakes on June 5, completed the order of finish.


Fantastic Pick, who has been the betting favorite only once in eight starts in this country, returned $46.20, $16.80 and $9.40. Blue Panis paid $7 and $4.20. The show price on Kid Edward was $3.60.


“In the stretch, I knew it was going to be a two horse race,’’ said Nakatani after his first graded stakes win at Oak Tree since he won the Sen. Ken Maddy Handicap aboard Dancing Edie on Sept. 26, 2007. “I was just trying to bide my time as long as I could because I wanted somebody to run with me to keep him focused.


“Jamie gave me some good insight into the horse and we’ve been pretty lucky together.’’

 

 

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