A speedy group of eight fillies and mares line up in Saturday’s $250,000 Barbara Fritchie (G3) with Sharp Starr looking to give the favorite her first career loss over the oval.
The Brittany Russell trained Hello Beautiful is the 8-5 morning line favorite and the filly is perfect in her seven trips over the Laurel Park main track. She won the What a Summer on Jan. 16 in her last outing in gate to wire fashion.
The race will be just her second start in graded stakes company. Her first was a sixth-place finish in the Prioress (G2) at Saratoga last September.
“For my first graded win to be Hello Beautiful would just be perfect. She’s just done so much for us and we’ve had so much fun with her,” Russell said. “She deserves it. She’s good at Laurel. We don’t know how good she is outside of Laurel, but it would just mean so much for all of us.
Sharp Starr (3-1) appears to be the major threat to the favorite. The Horacio DePaz trainee shipped down from Maryland last week and is coming off a runner up finish in the state bred La Verdad in her last outing on Jan. 3 at Aqueduct.
2021 La Verdad Replay
She came up short going long including a seventh in the Black Eyed Susan (G2) in her first trip to Maryland, but the cut back to one turn has suited her.
“The Black-Eyed Susan, obviously, was deeper waters, open company, “ DePaz said. “At least this time … it’ll be around one turn which it seems like she does very well. We’ll see how she stacks up against those types of horses.”
The Barbara Fritchie is one of six stakes on the Winter Sprintfest card that was originally scheduled for last Saturday. The co-feature is the $250,000 General George (G3) which drew a competitive field of 10 that will go seven furlongs.
Let’s head out to Laurel Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Laurel Park Race 7 The Barbara Fritchie G3 3:46 ET
1 Sharp Starr 3-1
8 Hello Beautiful 8-5
6 Hibiscus Punch 12-1
3 Dontletsweetfoolya 7-2
This filly invades from New York for the DePaz barn. Last out she prompted the early pace while out in the five or six path in the mud, battled on gamely while in between foes in the stretch and cold not go with the winner late in a runner up finish in the state bred La Verdad. She was three lengths clear of the third-place finisher. Two back in the slop she pressed the early pace and finished gamely to win the Go for Wand (G3) going a one turn mile. After three tries going nine furlongs last fall, she bounced back when cutting back to a one turn mile destroying state bred Alw-1 foes by 15 ¾ lengths and earning a 101 Beyer. Seven furlongs suits her in this spot, and she should get a good tracking trip sitting just off what likely is going to be a sharp pace.
The favorite has raced over the main track here seven times in her career and has won each outing. Last out she took the field gate to wire to win the What a Summer over a wet track at six furlongs. Her two career top efforts came here two and three back at today’s seven-furlong distance. She won the Safely Kept two back and the Maryland Million Distaff ‘Cap three back. She owns solid early and mid pace numbers, but she catches a field made up of a couple of foes that can make things difficult for her in the early going. Russell has been very live at the meet hitting at a 28% clip. This filly looks very tough but is likely going to be south of her 8-5 morning line.
This mare came off the bench while landing with the Nixon barn and has looked better with each outing. She was a good second in the Willa On the Move two back and then last out was a sharp winner versus Alw-1 company. The mare looks as if she will appreciate an extra furlong and is going to get a strong early pace to run at. Another move forward puts her in the mix here at a generous price and the KMan sticks with this filly.
WIN: Sharp Starr to win at 3-1 or better.
EXACTA: 1 / 3,6,8 and 1,8 / 1,6,8