Snowy conditions and a barn quarantine in New York that resulted in shipping restrictions and more than a dozen scratches in stakes throughout the afternoon, including that of several major contenders, put a bit of a damper on Laurel’s Winter Carnival on Saturday.
Reduced to a field of five, the $297,000 Barbara Fritchie (G2) was won by 3-5 favorite Ms Locust Point, who skipped through the slop in gate-to-wire fashion to score by 4 1/2 lengths under Jorge Vargas. Moiety was second, 1 1/2 lengths ahead of second choice Berned.
Owned by Cash is King and Jim Reichenberg, the Dialed In filly paid $3.20 after completing seven furlongs in 1:24.13.
This was the fourth stakes win in the eight-race career of Ms Locust Point, who had previously captured the $100,000 Gin Talking, $100,000 Willa On the Move, and $99,000 What a Summer, all at Laurel.
“We’ll certainly think about [the Madison at Keeneland in April],” trainer John Servis said. “It’s a Grade 1, see how she’s training heading up to that and see how the race is shaping up and see what Chuck [Zachney] and Jim have to say and go from there.”
A $17,000 Keeneland January purchase, Ms Locust Point is out of Whisper Number, by First Samurai. She’s earned $438,960 from a line of 8-6-1-0.
In the $250,000 General George (G3) for older horses, narrow favorite Something Awesome was along in time to take the seven-furlong dash by a neck from Fellowship, who also rallied from the back between rivals to edge It’s the Journey for the place by a half-length.
A homebred racing for Stronach Stables, Something Awesome returned $8.20 after covering the distance in 1:23.31. He’s trained by Jose Corrales and was ridden by Elvis Trujillo.
“In the post parade I could feel my horse would like the slop,” Trujillo said. “Two races before he won in the slop and today he felt so good. I saw three, four horses in front and I sat in behind, gave it time and in the stretch this guy was just flying.”
A seven-year-old gelded son of Awesome Again, Something Awesome won two allowances last fall at Laurel after moving to the Corrales barn, and last out was a close third in the $100,000 Fire Plug to Awesome Banner, who ran fourth here as the second choice.
Out of the multiple Grade 2-winning Somethinaboutlaura, by Dance Floor, Something Awesome has now earned $341,051 from a line of 22-7-2-6.
Favorites were successful in the early stakes action Saturday when Afleet Willy ($2.60) led wire-to-wire in the $99,000 John B. Campbell and even-money favorite Still Having Fun ($4) was up to win a three-way photo in the $100,000 Miracle Wood for three-year-olds.
Owned by BB Horses, Afleet Willy won by 2 1/2 lengths over second choice Zanotti. Trained by Claudio Gonzalez and ridden by Jomar Torres, he covered nine furlongs over a then good track in 1:50.58 for his second consecutive stakes win following the $100,000 Native Dancer on January 27.
Still Having Fun rallied inside of 34-1 longshot pacesetter Old Time Revival to take Miracle Wood by a neck under Feargal Lynch, with Wentz another neck behind in third. Owned by the partnership of Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable, and Terp Racing, the Tim Keefe trainee finished one mile in 1:37.51. He, too, was coming off a January 27 stakes win, having taken the $100,000 Frank Whiteley.
The Old Fashioned colt has now won three of four starts, his lone loss being a neck defeat in the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Championship in December.
After the track was downgraded to muddy, Miss Inclusive led throughout to take the $99,000 Maryland Racing Media for fillies and mares by 3 1/2 lengths under Jorge Vargas. Owned by Main Line Racing Stable and Joshtylane Farm, the John Servis trainee covered about 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.89. It was the Include mare’s first stakes triumph since the $100,000 Parx Oaks in May 2016.
In the $99,000 Wide Country for three-year-old fillies, Enchanted Ghost ($5.80) rallied from several lengths back to score by 3 1/4 lengths under Angel Cruz. Third in the $100,000 Marshua in her stakes debut last month, the Ghostzapper filly covered seven furlongs in 1:25.49.
Enchanted Ghost is owned by Mens Grille Racing and is trained by Hamilton Smith.