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The winner and third-place finisher from Oaklawn Park's Fantasy Stakes are both 20-1 on the morning line for the 143rd Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.

Ever So Clever, a surprise winner of Oaklawn's Grade 3 $400,000 race for 3-year-old fillies April 14, drew the rail post and Vexatious post six for Friday's Grade 1 $1 million race at nine furlongs.

"The post wouldn't have been our first choice," said Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, whose filly broke from outside post 12 in the Fantasy.

The Oaks is scheduled for 5:12 p.m. CDT with live coverage on NBC Sports Network (Resort Channel 76) and wagering available at Oaklawn, where Friday's first race from Churchill Downs starts at 9:30 a.m., or through Oaklawnanywhere.com.

Luis Contreras keeps the mount on Ever So Clever as does Hall of Famer Kent Desormeaux on Vexatious. Asmussen also is preparing Hence, Lookin At Lee and Untrapped, all with Oaklawn experience, for the Derby, in which the trainer is 0 for 15.

Vexatious' trainer, Hall of Famer Neil Drysdale, won the Oaks in 1980 with Bold 'n Determined and in 1993 with Princess Rooney, also taking the 2000 Derby with Fusaichi Pegasus.

About post six and 20-1 odds, Drysdale said, "I don't dwell on that all. There's nothing you can do about draws. It's just good to be in the body of the race."

Paradise Woods, trained by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella, is the early 5-2 Oaks favorite, breaking from post four with Flavien Prat aboard. Paradise Woods comes off an 11 3/4-length romp in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks in only her third start.

"I like it (the post)," Mandella cracked after the draw. "It's right there -- between the three and the five."

Miss Sky Warrior is 9-2 from post 10 with Paco Lopez aboard, Farrell 5-1 from post seven under Channing Hill, Abel Tasman 5-1 from post 13 with Hall of Famer Mike Smith and Salty 6-1 from outside post 14 under Joel Rosario.

Fifteen fillies were entered with also-eligible Summer Luck needing someone to scratch by 8 a.m. CDT Friday.

Farrell is trained by Oaklawn regular Wayne Catalano and Salty by Mark Casse, trainer of Grade 1 Arkansas Derby winner and probable Kentucky Derby favorite Classic Empire.

Cathryn Sophia, trained by John Servis (Smarty Jones), won last year's Oaks. Fantasy winner Rachel Alexandra won the 2009 Oaks by more than 20 lengths before becoming the first Preakness-winning filly in 85 years.

* Asmussen's Derby horses had nearly identical half-mile breezes Monday with Hence fastest in 48.40 seconds, Lookin At Lee timed in 50.20 and Untrapped in 50.40.

Florent Geroux has the raceday mount on Hence, an Oaklawn maiden winner in January and last-out Grade 3 Sunland Derby winner. Corey Lanerie rides Lookin At Lee, a hard-charging third in the Arkansas Derby, and Ricardo Santana Jr., is named aboard Untrapped, sixth in the Arkansas Derby after running third in the Rebel.

Untrapped would be the first Derby starter for Jonesboro owner Mike Langford. The Trappe Shot colt will race without blinkers, Asmussen said, after a failed experiment in the Arkansas Derby.

"Untrapped is a beautifully training horse and he gives you confidence that he deserves another chance," Asmussen said. "He may have gotten off track at Oaklawn, but we brought him here with an open mind. He's trained as impressively as any of them."

* John Piesen, a prominent handicapper and longtime Daily Racing Form columnist at Oaklawn, died Tuesday at a hospice center in Edison, N.J., said family members. He was 80.

A Brooklyn native, Piesen worked for nearly two decades at the New York Post as a public handicapper. He claimed a "world record" for picking at least one winner at Monmouth Park and its sister track, the Meadowlands, for 207 consecutive days. After leaving Daily Racing Form, he formed a handicapping company, marketing his picks and offering handicapping advice. His website says Piesen "nailed one of the biggest scores of my career" in the March 18 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn.

Piesen is survived by his wife, Betsy, and five children.

Sports on 05/03/2017

Print Headline: Fantasy fillies made longshots in Oaks

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