High Ridge Road wins the 2017 Barbara Fritchie Stakes

High Ridge Road wins the 2017 Barbara Fritchie Stakes

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club

High Ridge Road Closes to Win Barbara Fritchie

Quality Road mare is now undefeated in four starts at Laurel Park.

Martin Schwartz's High Ridge Road came into the $300,000 Barbara Fritchie Stakes (G2) with an undefeated record at Laurel Park and again would not be denied Feb. 18. 

Still four lengths back in fourth with a furlong to run, as favorite By the Moon held a clear lead, High Ridge Road found another gear on the outside and just got up to her first graded victory by a neck. 

Video: Barbara Fritchie S. (G2)

The 5-year-old Quality Road  mare won her first race at Laurel in April—her first start for trainer Linda Rice—by nine lengths, came back in May to win an allowance by nine lengths, then took the Dec. 31 Thirty Eight Go Go by a half-length over By the Moon for her first stakes win.

On Saturday, High Ridge Road raced fifth, 5 1/2 lengths off early leader Wonder Gal, through a first quarter in :22.70. Rowd E Allie took over to run a half-mile in :45.34 as High Ridge Road dropped by 6 1/2 lengths behind, but the eventual winner came five wide into the stretch to unleash her rally under jockey Horacio Karamanos.

"I didn't like her position inside (after breaking from post 1), so ... I sat behind," Karamanos said. "At the three-eighths pole, she was a little bit lazy, but the seven-eighths is the perfect distance for her. She needed more distance and at the top of the stretch, she didn't want to switch leads.

"When she switched leads at the sixteenth pole, she gave me a kick."

It was the third tough-luck second in four starts for grade 1 winner By the Moon, following the Thirty Eight Go Go and the Aug. 27 Ballerina (G1). All three losses were by a half-length or less.

High Ridge Road finished off the seven furlongs in 1:22.50. Completing the order of finish were Clothes Fall Off, Wonder Gal, Regina Marina, Sweet On Smokey, Takrees, and Rowd E Allie.

"In the middle of the turn I thought we might be in trouble," Rice said. "She wasn’t making up any ground, but then as soon as he got her to the outside in the stretch and she switched her lead, she’s really got a great closing kick, so I was very excited.”

Bred in Kentucky by a partnership out of the Devil's Bag mare Detect, High Ridge Road now has a 5-2-3 record from 11 starts with earnings of $413,990. She was a $350,000 purchase by Schwartz from Eddie Woods' consignment to the 2014 Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s spring sale of 2-year-olds in training. Hubert Guy Bloodstock bought her for $180,000 from Betz Thoroughbreds' consignment to the 2013 Keeneland September yearling sale.