Bear Fan Favored to Defend Barbara Fritchie Title

Edited from Laurel Park report
Bear Fan has been installed as the even-money morning-line favorite by Laurel Park handicapper Frank Carulli as the 6-year-old daughter of Pine Bluff attempts to defend her title in Saturday's $200,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap (gr. II).

A field of 10 older fillies and mares will race seven furlongs on the main track in the event that kicks off Laurel Park's "SprintFest Weekend."

Last year Bear Fan ran third in the Sunshine Millions Sprint at Santa Anita Park prior to crossing the country to annex the Fritchie. In this year's Sunshine Millions Sprint, this time at Gulfstream Park, Bear Fan finished second.

Trainer Wesley Ward said, "She came out of the Sunshine Millions great. That's why I'm willing to run her back so quickly."

After winning the Fritchie in 2004, Bear Fan won three more races, including two other grade II stakes -- the Garland Of Roses and Vagrancy -- and placed in another.

Maryland will be represented in the race with four locals, including Sensibly Chic (9-2) and Silmaril (10-1), who won preps for the Fritchie on the same afternoon. Sensibly Chic, trainer Tim Tullock's budding star, was impressive in taking the six-furlong What A Summer Stakes. Silmaril, a neck winner of the Nellie Morse who represents the stable of trainer Chris Grove, won five of seven starts last year and is seven for ten overall. Ramon Dominguez will ride Sensibly Chic on Saturday. Abel Castellano has the mount on Silmaril.

"We didn't peak her for that race because we had the Fritchie in mind," said Grove. "She was unlucky in her first graded experience (fifth in the grade III Anne Arundel) but they don't give $200,000 away so we'll have to run for it."

Two other local representatives are 4-year-old Richetta (15-1), who finished second to Silmaril in the Nellie Morse, and Wallop, who was runner-up to Sensibly Chic in the What A Summer. Richetta was a standout at two when she won three added money races. Wallop's (15-1) best effort was a win in Mountaineer Park's New Year's Eve Stakes to end 2004.

From New York, trainer Richard Dutrow will send Cativa (5-1), a winner of three straight, while Kiaran McLaughlin ships in Lavender Lass (12-1) and Thomas Bush will saddle Santa Croce (20-1), who finished a close third to Lavender Lass in the Correction Handicap. Cativa finished ahead of Lavender Lass in late January.

Josh's Madelyn (10-1) is taking the longest ride of them all to contest the Fritchie. A winner of the grade II Raven Run at Keeneland last fall, the 4-year-old Quiet American filly is shipping to Laurel from Arkansas. She also won a stakes at Prairie Meadows last year. Regular rider Justin Shepherd will get a leg up from trainer J. Larry Jones.

Philadelphia Park trainer Guadalupe Preciado will put Spectacular Moon (30-1) on a van to Laurel for the Fritchie. The 4-year-old filly won the Astarita Stakes at Aqueduct as a 2-year old, when conditioned by Laurel Park-based John Alecci.

Barbara Fritchie (gr. II)
Post position -- horse, weight, jockey, morning-line odds
1 -- Sensibly Chic, 114, Ramon A. Dominguez, 9-2
2 -- Silmaril, 114, Abel Castellano, Jr., 10-1
3 -- Spectacular Moon, 113, Dyn Panell, 30-1
4 -- Josh's Madelyn, 118, Justin Shepherd, 10-1
5 -- Wallop, 113, Nik G. Goodwin, 15-1
6 -- Lavender Lass, 115, Horacio Karamanos, 12-1
7 -- Bear Fan, 121, John R. Velazquez, Even
8 -- Cativa, 113, Edgar S. Prado, 5-1
9 -- Richetta, 114, Mario G. Pino, 15-1
10 -- Santa Croce, 111, Michael J. Luzzi, 20-1