SHARP STARR “MORE THAN LIKELY” FOR FRITCHIE
Barry Schwartz’s Grade 3-winning homebred Sharp Starr, narrowly beaten in her 4-year-old debut last month, will breeze over the weekend in New York ahead of an expected start in the $250,000 Runhappy Barbara Fritchie (G3) Feb. 13 at Laurel Park.
The 69th running of the Fritchie for fillies and mares 4 and older and the 45th edition of the $250,000 General’s Stake, formerly the General George, for 4-year-olds and up also sprinting seven furlongs, highlight a Winter Sprintfest program of six stakes worth $900,000 in purses.
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“I’m still looking at it. She’s in good form right now,” trainer Horacio DePaz said Wednesday. “I’m not sure who’s coming in for that race, but that’s kind of what I’m pointing to right now. I’ll work her this weekend and I’ll make my final decision after I see how she works. More than likely, I think that we’ll go there.”
A New York-bred daughter of three-time Grade 2-winning sprinter Munnings, Sharp Starr exits a one-length loss to Mrs. Orb in the seven-furlong La Verdad Jan. 3 in the mud at Aqueduct. She capped her sophomore campaign with a hardy neck triumph over Portal Creek, also nominated to the Fritchie, in the one-mile Go for Wand (G3) Dec. 5, also at Aqueduct.
Sharp Starr earned a return trip to graded-stakes competition after beating fellow state-breds by 15 ¾ lengths in one-mile allowance Nov. 7. Her only previous graded try came when seventh in the Oct. 3 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) at Pimlico Race Course.
“It was a big effort on her part after that allowance race to be able to repeat, and then the last race we got caught by a nice older mare. I think that she wasn’t necessarily in her top form, not that she was doing bad but I think the other filly was coming around a little better than she was,” DePaz said. “It wasn’t a bad effort. I’m still willing to give her a shot.”
A total of 23 horses were nominated to the Fritchie including fellow graded winners Eres Tu, Pacific Gale and Victim of Love; multiple stakes winners Dontletsweetfoolya, Hello Beautiful and Needs Supervision; and Amuse and Secret Keeper, both graded-stakes placed on the West Coast. “It’s hard to know who’s really coming in for that race. There are some California horses nominated but I don’t know if they’ll make the trip or not,” DePaz said. “So, we’ll see. She’s definitely doing well, so there’s not a reason to not give it a shot.”