Ladies Take Center Stage in
Barbara Fritchie Stakes
By: Laurie Ross, Iron Maidens Thoroughbreds
This year’s Barbara Fritchie Stakes for older female sprinters attracted a contentious field of eight. The Grade 2 event is held at seven furlongs over the Laurel Park dirt and is one of six stakes races carded for the Winter Racing Carnival. Three of the mares faced off in last year’s edition of the Barbara Fritchie.
High Ridge Road is making her season debut at her favorite track. The five year old daughter of Quality Road is three for three at Laurel. She’s making her first start of the season, but has previously beaten By the Moon and Wonder Gal. She teams with Horacio Karamanos who has won two of the last three editions of this Grade 2 race. There are only two chinks in High Ridge Road’s armor. The long layoff against a sharp group and she’s never raced at seven furlongs.
By the Moon is a seven furlong specialist and has won/placed in both starts at Laurel. She’s making her first start of the season and could be very tough.
Wonder Gal is multiple graded stakes placed. Last year she was third in the Ladies Handicap at Aqueduct before finishing off the board in the Barbara Fritchie. She may be a different filly this year. The daughter of Tiz Wonderful demolished her competition in the Ladies Handicap by 13 lengths. The drawback is that she’s finished off the board in two starts at seven furlongs.
Clothes Fall Off was a game second in last year’s edition of the Barbara Fritchie. She’s making her second start of the year after a speed/fade debut in the Interborough Stakes at Aqueduct, behind stablemate Takrees, who she’ll face again here.
Takrees competed twice at Laurel and finished second both times. She was a determined neck winner in her season bow in the Interborough Stakes. The confirmed stalker owns the highest late pace speed figure in the field. If things get hot n’ heavy on the front end, watch for her to take advantage. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin took home last year’s Barbara Fritchie trophy.
Sweet On Smokey is the local threat. She’s been in the money eight of ten starts at Laurel. She’s raced five times at seven panels and although she’s yet to earn a victory at the distance, she’s placed three times. She was fourth in last year’s Barbara Fritchie.
Rowd E Allie could be ready for the step up in company. She completed last year with a three race win streak over allowance foes at PARX. She’s now stepping up in class and distance, plus trying a new track surface for the first time It’s a lot to ask, but trainer Kelly Breen is 20% with shippers. Rowd E Allie is a confirmed front runner, and owns the highest early pace speed figure in the race. if Wonder Gal doesn’t press too hard, perhaps Rowd E Allie could steal it. Stranger things have happened.
Regia Marina ships in from Tampa and takes on tougher for her first start of the season. She was third in her only start at seven furlongs and has never competed at Laurel. Trainer Eoin Harty is 17% with shippers, but has a 2% win rate in graded stakes.
Four of the last five editions of the Barbara Fritchie were won by pace setters or pressers. Rowd E Allie and Wonder Gal do their best on the front end. By the Moon likes to be up close and is the only filly in the race with a victory at the distance.
By the Moon and Clothes Fall Off have the class and running style to win. High Ridge Road could be competitive. Sweet On Smokey is the longshot to watch. Takrees and Wonder Gal could fill out exotics too.
#3 By the Moon
#7 Clothes Fall Off
#1 High Ridge Road
#5 Sweet On Smokey – longshot pick.
Handigambling: Normally, I would wait to see the odds before betting a tri box, since it may not be worth the cost. If I was spending my own hard-earned dollars, I would bet one or two longshots for $2 WP bets and skip the fancy stuff.
$2 Tri Box #3 #7, #1, = $12
$2 Tri Box #3, #7, #5, = $12
$2 Tri Box #3, #7 #8 = $12
$2 Tri Box #3, #7, #6 = $12
$4 Exacta Box = #3, #7, #1, #5 = $48
$4 W/P #5 at odds 4-1 or higher