Maryland-based Lady Sabelia aced her first test in graded stakes company with a sharp win in Saturday's Grade 2, $300,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Laurel Park.
Running the first quarter in :22.67, Lady Sabelia and jockey Horacio Karamanos led the field through a half-mile split of :45.61. The two extended their lead through the stretch, keeping clear of rivals to win the seven-furlong event in a time of 1:23.14.
“She has natural speed. She wanted to go to front,” Karamanos said. “There was nothing to cover me up so I let her go. She took the lead so nice and easy and had plenty left at wire. She breezed so nice and comfortable last week in 58 that I was expecting big things today. This is special for me and Maryland today.”
Princess Violet finished second; Expression was third.
Lady Sabelia had won five of 10 previous starts at Laurel Park and had finished on the board in nine of those for trainer Robin Graham. She also has won races at Pimlico Race Course and Monmouth Park.
“She has been getting better from a year and a half ago. She is cool and relaxed about everything. Whatever you ask her to do she does,” said Graham. “This one is good for the home team. She only ran four times last year because of an eye problem. Whenever she is off that is why. We haven't thought past today…wanted to see where this goes. I will consider taking her to bigger things. I don't give Horacio a lot of instructions. He knows not to get into a fight with her.”
Owned and bred in Kentucky by Mrs. Frank P. Wright, Lady Sabelia is by Ashford Stud stallion Majestic Warrior out of Terra Maria, by Citidancer.
Sam's Sister, shipping cross-country after two graded stakes victories in California, made a strong move around the turn but flattened out to finish fourth.
“My horse never picked it up today,” said Elvis Trujillo, who rode Sam's Sister. “Winner ran easy on lead.”
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