Lady Sabelia demonstrated an affinity for Laurel Park's racing surface again Saturday, speeding to her fourth straight victory over the main track to run away with the $300,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap (Grade 2), a 7-furlong event for fillies and mares. The daughter of Majestic Warrior ($7.20), who previously had won three straight races over wet surfaces at Laurel, had no difficulty outrunning 10 rivals over a fast surface Saturday. "She is cool and relaxed about everything. Whatever you ask her to do she does," said Robin Graham, the winner's Laurel-based trainer. "This one is good for the home team." After breaking sharply from the starting gate to assume a quick early lead under Horacio Karamanos, Lady Sabelia never was threatened while posting fractions of 22.67, 45.61 and 1:10.18 for six furlongs on her way to a final clocking of 1 minute, 23.14seconds. The 5-year-old mare won by 11/2 lengths over Princess Violet and jockey Jose Ortiz, who finished a length ahead of Expression, a 60-1 long shot ridden by Wilmer Garcia. "She has natural speed," Karamanos said. "She wanted to go to the front. There was nothing to cover me up so I let her go." Southern California-based Sam's Sister, a Grade 1 stakes winner trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, finished fourth as the 2-1 favorite.
In other races at Laurel:
Page McKenney earned his first victory in nine starts over the main track Saturday, taking the $100,000 John B. Campbell Handicap with a late stretch run to beat Behemoth by a neck. The 5-year-old gelding, trained by Mary Eppler and ridden by Karamanos, covered the 11/8 miles in 1:51.88 for his ninth victory in 31 career starts.
Lunar Surge was the beneficiary of a ground-saving trip under Jose Ortiz on her way to victory in the $100,000 Maryland Racing Media Stakes, a 11/8-mile route for fillies and mares. Lunar Surge, the 5-2 favorite, was in last place in the 10-horse field after the first quarter-mile and advanced steadily while never venturing from the rail. She picked up her first stakes victory, and first win in nearly 11 months, winning by a length over Flores Island in 1:52.41.