02/18/2017 7:28PM

High Ridge Road surges at close to win Barbara Fritchie

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
High Ridge Road surged in the final furlong to win the Barbara Fritchie.

LAUREL, Md. - High Ridge Road came from behind to defeat By the Moon in the $100,000 Thirty Eight Go Go Stakes at Laurel Park on Dec. 31. The margin was a half-length and the exacta paid $9.80.

On Saturday, in the $300,000 Barbara Fritchie, High Ridge Road got the best of By the Moon again, but this time it was by a desperate neck in the shadow of the wire. The exacta paid $19.40.

By the Moon looked like a winner as she turned into the stretch of the seven-furlong Fritchie on the lead, while High Ridge Road appeared to be spinning her wheels back in the pack while already being hard-ridden by jockey Horacio Karamanos.

But Karamanos, who had won two races on High Ridge Road last spring, knew his filly well and never stopped trying. High Ridge Road finally leveled off in the final furlong and came running.

"This filly runs a little spotty, so I had to keep after her," Karamanos said. "She gave me a little kick, little kick, little kick, and then she switched leads and gave me an extra kick late."

Karamanos was winning the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie for the second time in three years. He won the 2015 edition on locally based Lady Sabelia.

High Ridge Road is now 5 for 11 in her career for owner Martin Schwartz, who transferred to the barn of Linda Rice in early 2016. Rice wasn't happy with how High Ridge Road was training at the time and turned her out. After High Ridge Road bled through Lasix in the Lady's Secret Stakes at Monmouth Park in July, Rice turned her out again.

The Fritchie is the third race of her current form cycle. She was beaten a nose in the Grade 3 Go for Wand at Aqueduct in her return, and now has won the Thirty Eight Go Go and her first graded stakes.

The victory capped a big day for Rice, who also won another race on the Laurel card and two races at Aqueduct, including the Broadway Stakes with Hot City Girl.

As Rice watched the Fritchie, she thought High Ridge Road was in trouble around the far turn.

“It looked like she might be going the wrong way and then hanging on the lead,” Rice said. “Once he got her to switch she had that extra kick. It’s been a good day. We had a lot of horses in.”

High Ridge Road paid $8.20 as the third choice in the eight-horse Fritchie. By the Moon, who stumbled at the start, was the 7-5 favorite. High Ridge Road was timed in 1:22.50.

Clothes Fall Off, who was forwardly placed throughout, finished third, 1 1/2 lengths behind By the Moon. Wonder Gal, who broke sharply and was briefly on the early lead, was fourth, a half-length farther back.

Rice said High Ridge Road could run next in either the Grade 1, $300,000 Madison at Keeneland on April 8 or the Grade 3, $150,000 Distaff at Aqueduct on April 9.

“She’s good right now, so frankly I should probably try for a Grade 1,” she said.

- additional reporting by David Grening