LAUREL, MD – The snow and the mud might have scared away more than half of the scheduled field from the starting gate, but not Ms Locust Point, who stormed home to a dominating victory in Saturday’s Grade 2, $300,000 Barbara Fritchie Stakes at Laurel Park.
Breaking briskly as the prohibitive 3/5 favorite under Jorge Vargas, Jr., Ms Locust Point immediately took command and had a 3-length lead only 2 furlongs in while under a light hold. The John Servis trainee set splits of :22.99 and :46.61 before hitting the top of the stretch in full stride. Under steady urging through to the wire, Ms Locust Point crossed with a 4 1/2-length gap in a final time of 1:24.13 for the 7-furlong main track event.
“She really can run,” said Vargas, Jr. “She took me there. Last time, I was trying to relax her a bit, but she likes to run. She’s won on a off track before, but not like this. (The sloppy track) was something I was a little concerned about. But she took to it good.”
Moiety spent the race chasing after Ms Locust Point in vain but did hold well for second, finishing 1 1/2 lengths in front of Berned, with Frisky Whiskey and Tazkeya completing the order of finish. Six entrants scratched: Bishop’s Pond, Boule, Divine Miss Grey, Highway Star, Quezon, and Sky Flower.
Owned by Cash is King and Jim Reichenberg, Ms Locust Point pushed her win streak to four. The victory was also her fourth stakes score, though this was her first in a graded event, and improved her record to 8-6-1-0 with career earnings of $438,960.
“She’s just now really learned to settle,” Servis said. “You know the old saying, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ I don’t want to throw too much at her too quick. I have to talk with (the owners) and see if we want to try a Grade 1 next, or do we want to try another Grade 2, Grade 3, and see how she handles them. She’s got such a brilliant cruising speed.”
Ms Locust Point returned $3.20 to win, $2.40 to place, and $2.10 to show. Moiety brought back $4.40 to place and $2.10 to show, while Berned paid $2.10 to show.