Lady Sabelia Unchallenged in Fritchie Win
Photo: Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club
Lady Sabelia and Horacio Karamanos take the Barbara Fritchie Stakes at Laurel Park.
The graded stakes debut for Maryland-based Lady Sabelia in the $300,000 Barbara Fritchie Stakes (gr. II) was a runaway success at Laurel Park Feb. 14 as Mrs. Frank P. Wright's homebred led gate to wire (VIDEO).
 
With Horacio Karamanos riding for trainer Robin Graham, the 5-year-old Majestic Warrior mare won in a drive by 1 1/2 lengths for her fourth consecutive victory. She covered a rare effort at seven furlongs in 1.23.14 on a fast track.
 
"She has natural speed," Karamanos said. "She wanted to go to front. 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 (at Laurel) in :58 that I was expecting big things today. This is special for me and Maryland today."
 
Lady Sabelia opened a clear lead from runner-up Princess Violet while clocking the opening quarter in :22.67, leading by a length. Extending her command to two lengths as the half went in :45.61, she opened up by 3 1/2 lengths into the stretch.
 
Although Princess Violet closed the gap late with Jose Ortiz urging her on, she could not get to the winner. Both Lady Sabelia and Princess Violet were sent off the co-second choice at 5-2 odds.
 
Expression closed eagerly for third, a length back after a ground-saving trip from midpack under Wilmer Garcia. 
 
California-based grade I winner Sam's Sister, the 2-1 favorite in the field of 10 older fillies and mares, finished fourth. 
 
"My horse never picked it up today," rider Elvis Trujillo said of Sam's Sister, stuck wide on the turn. "Winner ran easy on lead."
 
Lady Sabelia came into the Barbara Fritchie having won five of her last six starts in the Mid-Atlantic region, including three straight victories. In her two most recent efforts she captured the Willa On the Move Stakes Dec. 6 and the What a Summer Stakes Jan. 3, both going six furlongs at Laurel.
 
Lady Sabelia has scored six of her eight wins at six furlongs or less, but won her only other start at seven furlongs the 2013 Safely Kept at Laurel.
 
"She has been getting better from a year and half ago," Graham said. "She is cool and relaxed about everything. Whatever you ask her to do she does.
 
"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."
 
A Kentucky-bred, Lady Sabelia is out of the winning Citidancer mare Terra Maria. She is a half sister to stakes-placed Jen's Sister. 
 
Lady Sabelia, at 116 pounds, seven fewer than highweighted Sam's Sister, returned $7.40, $3.80, and $3.40. Princess Violet brought $3.80 and $3.40, and Expression paid $16.20, both at 115 pounds. 
 
Before You Know It was fifth and followed across the finish line by Stormy Novel, Flattering Bea, Toasting, Disco Barbie, and Best Behavior. Miss Mischief was scratched.

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