New York invader Cativa had little trouble picking up her fourth straight victory in Saturday's $200,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares at Laurel Park.
With Edgar Prado in the irons for trainer Richard Dutrow Jr., the former claiming horse Cativa captured her first stakes victory. The 5-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Sir Cat
completed the seven furlongs in 1:23 3/5 while crossing under the wire 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Sensibly Chic. Silmaril finished third, 6 1/2 lengths behind the easy winner.
Even-money favorite Bear Fan, the defending Fritchie champion, gave way to Cativa on the turn after setting the pace and faded to finish eighth.
After breaking well, Cativa quickly took up the chase behind Bear Fan and jockey John Velazquez. Prado asked Cativa to ease her way up to Bear Fan moving toward the far turn and not only caught her but cruised ahead and into the lead. Through the turn Cativa increased her advantage and down the stretch was completely in charge.
"I thought Bear Fan would have given me a little more fight," Prado said. "I went by around the five-sixteenths pole and I knew then I had a good chance to win the race."
The 6-year-old mare Bear Fan, who faded for the second straight time since returning to action after an absence of more than seven months, was in front through fractions of :23 and :46 1/5.
"She just didn't have it today," said Velazquez. "She just came out of a tough race (Sunshine Millions F&M Sprint on Jan. 29) and didn't show up today. It is one of those things. You scratch your head and don't know what happened."
Cativa paid $13, $6.60 and $4.80 and topped a $61.80 exacta with Sensibly Chic ($4, $3.60). Silmaril's show was $4.80
The victory was worth $120,000 to partners Manorwood Stables, Sanford Goldfarb, C.L. Carney and I. Davis, who claimed the dark bay in September 2003 as a 3-year-old for $55,000 at Belmont Park.
"Whenever you claim a horse you never dream of stuff like this," Dutrow said. "We took a shot. We didn't expect or hope for anything like this ... but we're ready for more. She ran a big race today. She just ran them into the ground."
Josh's Madelyn, Wallop, Spectacular Moon, Santa Croce, Bear Fan, Richetta and Lavender Lass trailed.