Barbara Fritchie Stks. quick hits

Kaylasaurus won the Willa On the Move Stakes. Photo Jim McCue.

Saturday marks the 70th running of the Grade 3 Barbara Fritchie Stakes, a seven-furlong fixture for older fillies and mares that’s long been one of the highlights of the Maryland racing winter.

The Fritchie began life at late, lamented Bowie Race Course in 1952, and a number of its winners have local races named for them to this day. Among those are two-time champs Twixt, Skipat, and Xtra Heat, and 1963 winner All Brandy.

Big Picture: Eight distaff runners in search of their first graded stakes victory will square off in this 70th renewal of the Grade 3 Barbara Fritchie. The most accomplished of these is the Mike Trombetta-trained Jakarta, a graded stakes-placed earner of nearly $445,000. Beyond Jakarta, stakes winners in the field include Glass Ceiling, Kaylasaurus, Prodigy Doll, and Belle of the North.

Missing: None of the four horses who ran in last year’s Fritchie and were nominated to this year’s will face the starter. Among those not running is defending champ Hibiscus Punch, who finished ninth last out in the Jan. 29 What A Summer.

In the Summer-time: Though it was pushed back to Jan. 29 because of track and weather issues, the What A Summer, the local prep for the Fritchie, has nevertheless produced four Fritchie starters in Kaylasaurus, Prodigy Doll, Regal Retort, and Fille d’Esprit.

Likely chalk: The formful Glass Ceiling seems likely to go off the favorite in here. The Charlton Baker trainee is a head away from a four-race win streak, just missing in the Pumpkin Pie behind Lady Rocket, who returned to win the G3 Go for Wand by a pole. Glass Ceiling subsequently won the Garland of Roses and then took an Aqueduct allowance by five lengths.

Quotable: “This was a spot I always thought of once she got good last fall. That was the main goal, to try and get her there. I thought seven furlongs would be a better distance for her. It seems like it’s her best distance,” Charlton Baker said. “I think she’s hitting her best stride right now and she showed it in her last two races. They were tough to start with, but she won them in a good way.”

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Good news for Glass Ceiling and…: Since the Fritchie will be contested without Lasix, Glass Ceiling’s two recent New York stakes tries – without Lasix – are good news for her. She finished first and second without the anti-bleeding medication. The only other runner with proven recent Lasix-free form is Jakarta, who finished third last out in the Grade 2 Inside Information at Gulfstream.

Off the stable mail: One runner whose last was a lot better than it looks on paper is Fille d’Esprit. The Jerry Robb trainee was absolutely left at the gate in the What A Summer, spotting the entire field an enormous amount of ground. She ran on willingly before flattening late, finishing seventh of 12, and will get Robb’s go-to rider in Xavier Perez in the irons.

One for the aged: Glass Ceiling is five, and three of the runners in here are six, but the elder stateswoman is Jakarta, who’s seven. Kirk Wycoff, who races as Three Diamonds Farm, purchased her for $35,000 out of the Fasig-Tipton mixed sale in December 2019, and she’s nearing the end of the racing road.

Quotable: “She’s a nice mare. She’s going to be bred this year to Essential Quality. We’ve got another race or two picked out for her,” Wycoff said. “It’s time. We’d like to retire her sound and on a win.”

Jockeying: Several of these runners are scheduled to have the same jockey in the Fritchie as in their prior race. Perhaps most notable is Dylan Davis, who’ll ride Glass Ceiling for the sixth consecutive time. He’s giving up a day at Aqueduct, where he’ll ride seven races Friday, for the day at Laurel. He has four mounts, this being the biggest.

Divvy it up: The Fritchie was run in divisions three times, in 1982, 1984, and 1985. Jockey Donnie Miller won four of the six divisions in those three years, winning both divisions in 1984 and one in each of the other two years.

On the improve: Bold Confection arrived in trainer John Servis’ Parx barn over the summer still a maiden. She’s now won three of her last four, including two allowance contests, and will make her stakes bow here. Jockey Frankie Pennington – a go-to rider for Servis – is scheduled to do the honors.

Quotable: “She’s a nice filly. They sent her over to me [last year] and she was probably about a month away from being ready to run,” John Servis said. “From day one when I started training her, I loved her. I like everything about her, and she’s been very forward for me.”

Stakes record: The stakes record belongs to Tappiano, who won the 1989 renewal with a time of 1:21 2/5.

Barbara Fritchie Stks. winners gallery