Lady Sabelia wins Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Laurel Park

Trainer Robin Graham about Lady Sabelia: “She is cool and relaxed about everything”

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.

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