Breeze Easy's Late Night Pow Wow extended her win streak to nine races in dramatic fashion, turning away defending champion Ms Locust Point and holding off Grade 1 winner Spiced Perfection to win the $250,000 Barbara Fritchie (G3) by a head Saturday at Laurel Park.
The 67th running of the Barbara Fritchie for fillies and mares 4 and older anchored five stakes worth $800,000 in purses on a 10-race Winter Carnival program including the $250,000 General George (G3) for 4-year-olds and up, won in gate-to-wire fashion by Uncontested.
Narrowly favored over Spiced Perfection at 2-1, Late Night Pow Wow ($6) ran seven furlongs in 1:21.61 over a fast main track for her 11th victory from 12 career starts, sixth in a stakes and second against graded company, the other coming by a neck last fall in the Charles Town Oaks (G3), where trainer Javier Contreras is based.
“Every race, when you get out of town and start facing the real racehorses it's always a big deal,” Contreras said. “What an exciting thing. There's no words to really describe it. It's just amazing. She's come a long way. A long way.”
Looking to become only the fourth two-time winner of the Barbara Fritchie and first in successive years since Hall of Famer Xtra Heat in 2002-03, Ms Locust Point was intent on the lead and held it through an opening quarter-mile in 22.55 seconds, extending her advantage after a half in 45.29. Fredy Peltroche, aboard for all of Late Night Pow Wow's races, was content to settle in second on the rail with Shimmering Aspen to her right.
Ms Locust Point maintained the lead on the turn as Late Night Pow Wow edged clear of Shimmering Aspen and Spiced Perfection took over third up the inside before tipping three wide to launch her bid. Peltroche guided Late Night Pow Wow through an opening inside of Ms Locust Point straightening for home and set her down for a drive.
“My filly won six furlongs going wire to wire and I never moved on her. This time, I broke good and got good position and waited,” Peltroche said. “[Ms Locust Point] came in a little bit but I didn't check my horse because I had a lot of horse. I sent her up the rail and in the stretch it was only the one filly coming. She likes the big stretch here. Her other races were easier, but this race was very tough.”
Once she had the lead, Late Night Pow Wow had to dig in as Spiced Perfection, making her first start since being purchased privately following a victory in the La Brea (G1) Dec. 26 at Santa Anita, came with her run on the far outside but was unable to reel in the winner.
“You're always a little nervous but I wasn't really nervous, nervous. I know how she is,” Contreras said. “I know she'll give you everything, every time.”
Dawn the Destroyer rallied late to pass Ms Locust Point by neck for third, three lengths behind Spiced Perfection. They were followed by Your Love, Shimmering Aspen, Honor Way, Devine Mischief, My Cousin Martha and Lady Vicki.
Late Night Pow Wow won her first nine career starts at Charles Town with Contreras as owner and trainer, before selling her privately to Mike Hall and Sam Ross of Breeze Easy. Since then, she won the Willa On the Move Stakes to cap her 2018 campaign and the What A Summer Stakes Jan. 12, both at Laurel, by 11 ¼ combined lengths.
“I'm sure there's some plans for her later on. There's a couple of stakes. We're not really sure where we're going but she's going to have to face probably the same or even a little better,” Contreras said. “We're going to have to sit down and really, really enjoy this.”
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