by Jeremy Plonk
February 20, 2022
$250,000 GRADE 3 BARBARA FRITCHIE STAKES AT LAUREL PARK
Winter Sprintfest provides the season's top card at Laurel Park with graded stakes dashes in the General George and Barbara Fritchie Stakes. The program features 4 additional stakes events on a fantastic day of racing just outside the nation's capital. We'll focus here on the Race 8 Barbara Fritchie for filly and mare sprinters at 7 furlongs.
Horseplayers on the 1/ST BET and Xpressbet platforms can take advantage of up to a $10 money-back special on the entire card Saturday at Laurel. You'll get up to $10 back on win bets if your selection finishes second or third. Lucrative pick four and pick five "Hit & Split" promotions also make tackling the multi-race wagers potentially even more profitable.
Five of the eight runners are stakes winners, but none have won at the graded level. JAKARTA is Grade 2-placed and has kept the strongest company lines consistently.
JAKARTA and BOLD CONFECTION are drawn alongside and expected to hook up on the front end. Rail-drawn FILLE d'ESPRIT could add additional heat if sent along, but she's inconsistent leaving the gate. This should be an above-average pace for 7 furlongs and give late finishers a chance to deliver if good enough.
Four of these competitors re-match from the Jan. 29 What A Summer Stakes over 6 furlongs. That race was won by Fair Grounds shipper Time Limit, who does not return. Time Limit didn't look like a star on paper, so if a shipper could win the What A Summer, I theorize that one can, and likely will, win again Saturday. So where do we look?
GLASS CEILING comes in from New York for a red-hot Charlie Baker barn. He's winning 36% in 2022 with a $3.15 ROI for every $1 bet, according to Betmix stats. His sprinters going 7 furlongs or less on the young year are a marvelous 6-14 with a $3.55 ROI for every $1 bet. GLASS CEILING has one of those 2022 wins in allowance company at Aqueduct. Prior to that she closed 2021 winning the Garland of Roses at the Big A. She's in raging form and looks tough.
JAKARTA also makes a strong case as a new face to the Laurel stakes scene. She's 1-for-2 in stakes at Parx and Gulfstream since coming to Mike Trombetta's Maryland-based barn. Seven furlongs stretches her speed to its limit, but she did win the Mrs. Claus at Parx over this trip in late December. Her success likely depends on how long BOLD CONFECTION can keep company on the pace. Hot-riding Victor Carrasco improves her chances.
As for the What A Summer alumnae, KAYLASAURUS was runner-up in that one and leads the returnees. Her late-running style should play well over the additional furlong on Saturday. REGAL RETORT, fifth in the What A Summer, also should benefit from the longer distance. She's 4-for-6 at 7 furlongs lifetime for trainer Steve Asmussen.
Most Certain Exotics Contender:
GLASS CEILING looks every bit the part so long as she handles her first foray over the Laurel surface.
Best Longshot Exotics Contender:
BELLE OF THE NORTH was effective over 7 furlongs last year and won the Safely Kept for 3-year-olds at this trip in November. Her last start at 1-1/8 miles around 2 turns may be a 'draw-a-line-through' performance that helps inflate her price.
Sending it in ($100 bankroll):
$80 win GLASS CEILING. $20 Exacta GLASS CEILING over KAYLASAURUS.