Oprah Winney, winner of the 2007 Barbara Fritchie, is the co-highweight in this year's edition.

Oprah Winney, winner of the 2007 Barbara Fritchie, is the co-highweight in this year's edition.

Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO

Oprah Winney Seeks Fritchie Repeat

Third in last start, Dutrow trainee tackles Control System, Karakorum Starlet again

The top three finishers from Aqueduct’s Jan. 1 Interborough Handicap, will meet again in the Barbara Fritchie Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Laurel Park Feb. 16.

A seven-furlong dirt event for older fillies and mares, the Fritchie is run as part of the Magna track’s “Winter Sprintfest Celebration” which includes the $95,000 John B. Campbell Handicap and the Feb. 18 $300,000 General George Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. IIT). The Fritchie also serves as the first leg of the Magna 5 wager, which features a carryover of $265,310.

Ten runners will contest the Barbara Fritchie, led by defending 2007 winner Oprah Winney. Bred in New York by Gatsas Thoroughbreds and based in that state in the barn of trainer Richard Dutrow, Oprah Winney comes into this year’s edition of the race off a third-place finish in the Interborough behind Control System and Karakorum Starlet.

Last year, Oprah Winney won the Fritchie after taking the Interborough for owners Sanford Goldfarb, Michael Dubb, and a Bunch of Characters Stable. This year the daughter of Royal Academy is co-highweight with an assignment of 120 pounds and 9-2 odds on the morning line. Her last work came Feb. 8 at Aqueduct, when she registered three furlongs in :37.57. Pablo Fragoso will ride.

Maryland Jockey Club handicapper Frank Carulli tabbed the Laurel Park-based Control System as an 8-5 morning line favorite. Trained by Mike Trombetta, the 4-year-old daughter of Lion Hearted carries 120 and has five victories from seven career starts – including three stakes at six furlongs. Her recent win in the Interborough came under jockey Julian Pimentel, who retains the mount. Bred in Pennsylvania by Horse Shoe Valley Equine, Control System has been working bullets in the morning, her most recent being a four-furlong drill in 48.60 Feb. 10.

“We’re pleased with her and I’m looking forward to the Fritchie,” said Trombetta, who will be honored prior to the sixth race for being Maryland’s top percentage trainer last year. “She’s got speed or she can (rate behind) a horse or two. We have always wanted to try her a little further to see how she handled it, but wanted to be sure she had enough races under her belt before we stepped up.”

Karakorum Starlet, 6-1 on the morning line, is daughter of Skip Away from the stable of Jeff Odintz. Bred in New York by Jim Jam Thoroughbreds and Marvin Little Jr., she’s been on the losing end in stakes behind both Oprah Winney and Control System, but holds victories over state-bred company in both Belmont’s Oct. 20 Iroquois Handicap the Jan. 11 Ruby Rubles Stakes at Aqueduct. The 5-year-old mare has been first or second five times in seven starts at the distance.

“I’ve never had a horse this good to be able to come down for the Barbara Fritchie,” Odintz said. “I wanted to take a shot because she is deserving of it off her last race and in her daily training regimen. Every time she runs she shows like she is ready to move up to the next level.”

Dutrow also saddles a second starter – Baby Bird, the third-place finisher from Aqueduct’s 1 1/16-mile Affectionately Handicap for Jay Em Ess Stable Jan. 12. The 5-year-old daughter of Cape Town, bred in Kentucky by Marvin Delfiner, seeks her first stakes victory and owns four wins from 10 starts. 

Three other New York-based runners will be making the trek to Laurel – Michael Hushion trainee Golden Dawn, and Bruce Levine starters More Angels and Devil House. More Angels looks to rebound from an off-the-board finish in the Jan. 26 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita, while Devil House comes off a wire-to-wire win in the Happy Princess Stakes at Aqueduct. Jan. 24. 

For Kisses, Take a Check, and All Giving complete the field.

$300,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap (gr. II, race 10, approximate post 4:37 p.m. EST), seven furlongs for older for fillies and mares, dirt

PP, Horse, Age, Weight, Jockey
1. Take a Check (MD), 6, 113, Nick Santagata
2. Baby Bird (KY), 5, 113, Horacio Karamanos
3. For Kisses (MD), 5, 114, A. R. Napravnik
4. Golden Dawn (KY), 4, 114, Channing Hill
5. Devil House (KY), 4, 113, Charles C. Lopez
6. Karakorum Starlet (NY), 5, 115, Jeremy Rose
7. More Angels (CA), 5, 115, Michael J. Luzzi
8.Control System (PA), 4, 120,Julian Pimentel
9.Oprah Winney (NY), 5, 120 Pablo Fragoso
10. All Giving (MD), 4, 113, Erick Rodriguez