Blue Eyed Girl to target G3 Fritchie
Blue Eyed Girl won an allowance at Laurel Park January 11. Photo by Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club.
Morris Kernan Jr. and M-Z Racing Partnership’s Blue Eyed Girl, who impressively extended her win streak to three races last time out at Laurel Park, will return to Maryland to make her stakes debut in the $250,000 Runhappy Barbara Fritchie Saturday, Feb. 15.
The 68th running of the Barbara Fritchie for fillies and mares 4 and older is the co-headliner on Laurel’s lucrative Winter Carnival program, along with the $250,000 General George (G3) for older horses. Both races are contested at seven furlongs.
A trio of $100,000 stakes will also be held during Winter Carnival, the biggest day of Laurel’s ongoing winter meet – the one-mile Miracle Wood for 3-year-olds and 1 1/16-mile Wide Country for 3-year-old fillies, and the 1 1/16-mile John B. Campbell for 4-year-olds and up.
Nominations for all five stakes close Thursday, Feb. 6.
Blue Eyed Girl, a 4-year-old daughter of 2010 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Super Saver, made her Laurel debut Jan. 11 and rolled to a 6 ½-length victory in a 6 ½-furlong optional claiming allowance to kick off her season. She returned to the work tab for the first time since with a half-mile breeze in 48.45 seconds Monday at Parx, fourth-fastest of 16 horses.
“She’s a very easy filly to train. She’s all class,” trainer Marcos Zulueta said. “We’re looking to stay at Laurel Park for the stake on the 15th. We’re going to shoot for that race.”
Claimed for $20,000 out of a seven-furlong sprint win last June, Blue Eyed Girl has finished first or second in seven straight starts and has been third or better in 10 of 13 lifetime races. The Fritchie would be her first time facing stakes company.
“She’s doing perfect right now. She’s on top of her game,” Zulueta said. “She’s doing good, so we’ll take a chance.”
Zulueta has won 445 races and multiple stakes since 2011 but has yet to earn a graded triumph. Four of Blue Eyed Girl’s six career wins have come since joining his barn, and he felt her most recent effort was her best yet.
“I know she can run, but I didn’t know she could run like that. I was pretty impressed with her,” Zulueta said. “I’ve always liked her. She’s the kind of horse that has just gotten better and better and better.”
In addition to live racing, Winter Carnival will feature kids’ crafts and face painting, a hot chocolate and coffee bar, live ice sculpting demonstration, special stakes buffet and Maryland Jockey Club hat giveaway.
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