A year after shipping two of his distaffers from New York to sweep the top spots in the $300,000 Barbara Fritchie Stakes (G2), trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is again going with strength in numbers as he sends out Takrees and Clothes Fall Off in this year's edition of the seven-furlong test Feb. 18 at Laurel Park.
Campaigned by Cheyenne Stables, Southern Equine Stable, and Gatewood Bell, Clothes Fall Off was second to stablemate Dancing House in last year's Barbara Fritchie and is aiming to get back on form after two consecutive off-the-board efforts. The 5-year-old daughter of Daaher won the six-furlong Correction Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack last March prior to running eighth in the Madison Stakes (G1) at Keeneland, and didn't race again until finishing fifth behind Takrees in the six-furlong Interborough Stakes at Aqueduct Jan. 22.
"She just had some bruising of the cannon bone. We were pointing for this race with the (Interborough), so it worked out well. I wish she would have run better last time," McLaughlin said. "She broke and was kind of chasing, and I don't think she wanted to be chasing. She just flattened out down the lane. She'll improve a lot from the run. She had been off a long time and she's come back and worked well since. She's doing well, so we think she'll run well. She liked the track last year."
Shadwell Stable homebred Takrees, also a daughter of Daaher, does her best running from far back. She rallied from dead last to win the Interborough by a neck—her first stakes triumph in 11 career strarts—and owns two seconds in as many tries at Laurel, a six-furlong maiden special weight in December 2015 and the seven-furlong Safely Kept Nov. 19, where she came flying six wide and was beaten 2 1/4 lengths.
"She has always just run well from way back. She's always shown no pace, but kicks strong. It was nice to win a stake with her last time; now it would be nice to win a graded stake," McLaughlin said. "She's a nice filly and she deserves a chance. She ran well there last year, but she went around them. We hope she doesn't have to angle from that far around again."
Jay Em Ess Stable's By the Moon returns to sprinting after a half-length defeat in Laurel's one-mile Thirty Eight Go Go Stakes Dec. 31 behind fellow Fritchie entrant High Ridge Road. The 5-year-old Indian Charlie mare brings back class to the table, having won the 2014 Frizette Stakes (G1) and the Bed o' Roses Handicap (G3) last June and can top $1 million in career earnings by finishing first or second.
Martin Schwartz's High Ridge Road will test her home-track advantage as she cuts back in distance. The 5-year-old daughter of Quality Road is unbeaten in three starts at Laurel, taking an entry-level allowance and second-level optional claiming allowance by a combined 15 lengths last spring. She has yet to try seven furlongs and hasn't sprinted since a pair of six-furlong races to open her career, the last in October 2015.
Laurel Park, Saturday, February 18, 2017, Race 9
- 4 yo's & up Fillies and Mares
- 4:30 PM (local)
|1||1High Ridge Road (KY)||Horacio Karamanos||118||Linda Rice||5/2|
|2||2Rowd E Allie (PA)||Feargal Lynch||118||Kelly J. Breen||20/1|
|3||3By the Moon (KY)||Victor R. Carrasco||120||Michelle Nevin||2/1|
|4||4Regia Marina (KY)||Trevor McCarthy||118||Eoin G. Harty||12/1|
|5||5Sweet On Smokey (KY)||Jevian Toledo||118||Claudio A. Gonzalez||12/1|
|6||6Takrees (KY)||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||118||Kiaran P. McLaughlin||6/1|
|7||7Clothes Fall Off (KY)||Rajiv Maragh||120||Kiaran P. McLaughlin||8/1|
|8||8Wonder Gal (NY)||Kendrick Carmouche||118||Leah Gyarmati||9/2|