The Grade 2, $300,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Laurel Park begins to set the stage for the competition throughout the year in the Filly and Mare Sprint Division, culminating this fall in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Keeneland. Although there are many months to go until the top horse in the division is crowned, the Barbara Fritchie field consists of a number of horses with that goal in mind including three newly turned 4-year-olds, two of which are top contenders in this race.
Sam's Sister ships out from California off a pair of wins at this seven furlong distance, most recently in the Grade 2 Santa Monica Stakes. Princess Violet missed by a nose in the Grade 3 Go For Wand Handicap in New York. These two set the stage for a very exciting race. The contention doesn't stop there as locally based contender Lady Sabelia has won three straight at Laurel, two of them stakes. Best Behavior won the Glass Slipper Stakes in December and has now been first or second in her last five races, so she deserves consideration, as does Toasting, winner of the Sky Beauty Stakes last summer.
Sam's Sister deserves top billing as the only horse in the field to have won a graded stakes race. Two races back in December, Sam's Sister won the Gr.1 La Brea Stakes at 12 to 1, then proved that victory to be no fluke by returning 24 days later to win the G2 Santa Monica Stakes. Although earning 94 and 93 Equibase® Speed Figures respectively, which are lower than others in the field, Sam's Sister is a newly turned 4-year-old likely to improve. Undefeated on the main track in five races and with her regular jockey Elvis Trujillo in the saddle, Sam's Sister looks very tough to beat.
Princess Violet ran a career best race when last seen at the end of November, missing by a nose in the Go For Wand Stakes in New York. Running eight paths wide on the far turn before rallying for second, Princess Violet lost more ground during the race than her margin of defeat. Further, the 105 Figure she earned is one we can expect to be improved upon in her first start as a 4-year-old, so she should be right there at the finish once more.
Lady Sabelia is a horse that loves to win races, with seven victories in 13 starts. She has won three in a row at Laurel Park, the last two in non-graded stakes with 102 and 101 figures. Lady Sabelia, like Sam's Sister, is undefeated at the seven furlong distance of the Barbara Fritchie. With the ability to lead from the start or come from just behind the pacesetters, Lady Sabelia rounds out a tough trio of contenders who could come together at the wire in this race.
The rest of the Barbara Fritchie, with their best representative Equibase® Speed Figures, is Before You Know It (111), Best Behavior (105), Disco Barbie (107), Expression (101), Flattering Bea (95), Miss Mischief (96), Toasting (103) and Stormy Novel (104).
Barbara Fritchie Handicap – Grade 2
Race 8 at Laurel Park
Saturday, February 14 – Post Time 3:57 PM E.T.
Seven Furlongs, For Fillies and Mares, Three-Years-Old and Upward
For free premium Equibase past performances on this race and more, click here.
Ellis Starr, also known as “Ubercapper”, is the National Racing Analyst for Equibase, producing widely distributed selections and analysis for various tracks around the country. Ellis has been a public handicapper for over 20 years and was one of the first to publish selections on the Internet, sharing his insights as well as the methodology he uses daily.
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