A tidy six-length winner of Aqueduct’s Fiesta Lady Stakes in her last start, Marty Cunningham’s Golden Dawn repeated the margin and added graded status to her resume when she took the $300,000 Barbara Fritchie Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. II) (VIDEO) at Laurel Park Feb. 16.
Fourth at the start under jockey Channing Hill, Golden Dawn moved up to second in the field of eight as defending 2007 Fritchie winner Oprah Winney set the pace for the seven-furlong event. Karakorum Starlet and All Giving raced third and fourth through the quarter in :22.62 and the half in :45.95.
As they entered the stretch going three-quarters in 1:10.54, Golden Dawn issued a rail bid to take the lead. She drew off steadily while Control System outran the others to finish second after swinging four wide on the turn. For Kisses, angling in to the rail in midstretch, was third. The final time was 1:23.24.
“She’s been getting better every race, and she took another step forward,” trainer Michael Hushion said of the filly. “Before we got her, her form was a little hidden, but Len Friedman of the Ragozin Sheets found her for us and said this was a filly that was going to come around and they had it right. Her last race was huge, and everything pointed to giving this a try. She trained like a monster.”
The win was also a first graded victory for jockey Channing Hill, who was runner-up for the outstanding apprentice Eclipse Award in 2005.
“I had a ton of confidence in my filly today,” Hill said. “When she went up inside, I just had a ton of horse and figured someone had to come running today to beat her. When Control System ranged up I thought I may have moved a little too early, but my filly just took off. She did everything I needed her to do to. She got brave when I needed her to be and just ran an awesome race.”Baby Bird, Karakorum Starlet, More Angels, and All Giving completed the order of finish. Oprah Winney, after stopping at the head of the stretch, was eased and walked off the track.