Hillwood Stable and Richard Golden's Majestic Reason, just days after being crowned Maryland's champion older mare of 2019, celebrated in style by becoming a graded stakes winner in the $250,000 Runhappy Barbara Fritchie Stakes (G3) Feb. 15 at Laurel Park.
It was the third stakes victory for the 5-year-old, all at Laurel, where she has never been off the board in 10 starts, five of them wins. Majestic Reason had a record of 3-2-1 and $201,892 in earnings last year when she won the Willa On the Move Stakes, ran second in the Politely Stakes, and finished third in the Gallant Bloom Handicap (G2) to earn championship honors at the Feb. 11 Renaissance Awards.
"I kind of was hoping she could come and justify being a champion, and she really did, which doesn't surprise me at all," winning trainer Graham Motion said. "She always steps up."
Motion, who is based at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md., and Maryland's 2019 riding champion, Trevor McCarthy, each won the Fritchie for the first time. The winning time was 1:23.35 on a fast main track.
"It worked out perfectly with two speed horses vying, and we were able to sit right behind them. We had a nice, easy pace. She's a filly that doesn't like to be rushed. The seven-eighths was a bit of a question, but she got the right trip today," McCarthy said. "It was a great job by Graham. It's always special when we win races for Graham. He's been the main supporter of my career and started me out. It's a special moment. It's definitely a race that has been on my bucket list for a while."
McCarthy was able to settle the daughter of Majestic Warrior in midpack as Blue Eyed Girl, who entered with a three-race winning streak and was making her stakes debut, took the field of six through an opening quarter-mile in :23.79. She was still in front after a half in :46.87, pressed the whole way by What A Summer Stakes winner Victim of Love.
Victim of Love took first run at the leader on the turn and forged a short lead, but Majestic Reason swung outside and was set down for the stretch drive by McCarthy, opening to win by 2 1/4 lengths. Victim of Love was second, a half-length in front of late-running Anna's Bandit, an eight-time stakes winner making her graded debut.
"I am so proud of her. She seems to get better every race. She just ran beautifully," Hillwood's Ellen Charles said. "This filly has never disappointed us. She's a wonderful, wonderful filly."
The win pushed Majestic Reason's bankroll to $462,998 from 13 starts, six of them wins.
"She's never done anything wrong, this filly. She's phenomenal. She's so straightforward and so honest. I felt really good about running her today," Motion said. "The only reservation I've had up to this is that she's trained on the all-weather (surface), and I've never trained her on the all-weather before. She handles it really well. I'm thinking maybe she might have grass in her future."
Bred in Maryland by Sycamore Hall Thoroughbreds and Charles, Majestic Reason is out of the stakes-winning Not For Love mare Love's Reason. The dam's two other foals to race have earned black type. Jump for Love (by Jump Start) was third in the 2015 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship Stakes, and Good Reasoning (by Scat Daddy) finished third in the 2017 Caveat Stakes.
Video: Runhappy Barbara Fritchie S. (G3)
Other Stakes at Laurel
Laurel staged three stakes before the Barbara Fritchie on Saturday, part of a five-stakes program that also included the General George Stakes (G3).
Alwaysmining won the first stakes, the $99,000 John B. Campbell Stakes under Julian Pimentel, racing 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.46. The 4-year-old gelded son of Stay Thirsty trained by Kelly Rubley for Runnymoore Racing turned back a midstretch bid from favored Monongahela to finish a neck in front.
One race later, Naughty Thoughts scored her first stakes victory by leading throughout in the $100,000 Wide Country Stakes beneath Jevian Toledo. A successful $25,000 claim in November by owner Rafael Lopez and trainer Jonathan Maldonado, the 3-year-old daughter of The Factor raced seven furlongs in 1:24.01.
Speedster Lebda held on for a three-quarter-length victory in the $100,000 Miracle Wood Stakes for 3-year-olds, covering a mile in 1:38.38. Alex Cintron piloted the winner, a son of Raison d'Etat for owner Euro Stable and trainer Claudio Gonzalez.