$300,000 Barbara Fritchie (G2)

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THE RACE $300,000 Barbara Fritchie (G2) Laurel Park Race 9 (Saturday, February 18, 2017: 4:30 p.m/ET; 1:30 p.m./PT) Seven furlongs on the main track (fillies and mares, four-years-old and upward) The final six races on the Saturday Laurel card are stakes, including this one, the headliner, where four of the eight runners won a stakes race in their last start, demonstrating the type of quality lined up looking to earn black type status. Here’s my preview: #1 HIGH RIDGE ROAD is a perfect three-for-three at Laurel Park, including her last start, when she beat #3 BY THE MOON in a $100K stakes race going one mile. Now she cuts back in distance and will need to beat some new shooters shipping in from New York. #2 ROWD E ALLIE enters this race with a three race win streak, all against allowance company in six-furlong sprints at Parx. Now she faces legit graded stakes company while making her first start at a distance longer than six furlongs. #3 BY THE MOON, the only Grade 1 winner in the field, finished second behind #1 HIGH RIDGE ROAD in her first start since a fifth place finish going this distance in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) in November. Should be respected. #4 REGIA MARINA was a length-and-a-quarter winner of the Mahoning Distaff in her most recent start. Her best races before that stake win came in allowance races over synthetic surfaces at Arlington Park and Presque Isle Downs. Not sure she is good enough. #5 SWEET ON SMOKEY finished fourth in this race last year at odds of 53/1 and has yet to win in five starts at this distance. #6 TAKREES, last seen winning the Interborough Stakes on the inner dirt at Aqueduct, is one of two runners in here conditioned by Kiaran McLaughlin. Retains the riding services of top jock Irad Ortiz, Jr. #7 CLOTHES FALL OFF, second in this race last year, makes her second start off a nine-and-a-half-month break. In her first start off the lengthy layoff, she ran fifth, beaten six lengths by her stablemate #6 TAKREES. #8 WONDER GAL, fresh off a thirteen-length victory in the Ladies Handicap going a mile-and-seventy-yards at Aqueduct, is another one that cuts back in distance. SELECTIONS 1. #8 WONDER GAL - Her best makes her scary. 2. #3 BY THE MOON – Classy mare. 3. #7 CLOTHES FALL OFF – Should be ready to run a big one second off the layoff. LONGSHOT VALUE PLAY: #1 HIGH RIDGE ROAD - Horse for course. WAGERING STRATEGY I’ll box my top two choices and longshot value play in exactas and make a win bet on my top choice. BANKROLL PLAY ($50 Budget) $5 Exacta Box: #1 HIGH RIDGE ROAD and #3 BY THE MOON and #8 WONDER GAL ($30) $20 Win: #8 WONDER GAL (Bankroll at +$963.80 after 2017 Week #3 Based on $50 Wagers; -$158.00 last newsletter).

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