02/14/2015 6:04PM

Lady Sabelia all the way in Barbara Fritchie

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club photo
Lady Sabelia, ridden by Horacio Karamanos, wins the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie Handicap by 1 3/4 lengths Saturday.

Lady Sabelia decided to go to the lead in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Laurel Park on Saturday, and jockey Horacio Karamanos was in no mood for a fight. The result was a front-running victory in Lady Sabelia's graded-stakes debut and back-to-back stakes wins on the card for Karamanos.

Lady Sabelia, a 5-year-old daughter of Majestic Warrior, has been patiently developed by her owners, Mr. and Mrs. Frank P. Wright, and trainer Robin Graham. She is just reaching her peak and has now won six of her last seven races. The Fritchie was her toughest test to date, and she won rather comfortably.

Lady Sabelia opened up a clear lead after a quarter-mile and clicked off relatively quick fractions of 22.67 seconds, 45.61, and 1:10.18 en route to a seven-furlong clocking of 1:23.14. Lady Sabelia paid $7.20 as the second choice in the 10-horse field.

Princess Violet, in contention throughout from her rail post, tried to reel in Lady Sabelia through the stretch run but came up 1 1/2 lengths short and had to settle for second. Her trainer, Mike Hushion, won last year's Fritchie with My Wandy's Girl, who also finished second in the 2013 Fritchie for Hushion.

Expression, well back early while racing along the inside, finished willingly for third, 1 3/4 lengths in front of 2-1 favorite Sam's Sister.

Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Sam's Sister bobbled and was pinched back at the break, recovered to reach contention, rallied four wide into the stretch, but was outfinished.

Graham nursed Lady Sabelia through sore shins as a 2-year-old and races her with a bubble blinker on her right side because she is susceptible to abscesses in that eye.

Lady Sabelia is stabled at Laurel and is 6 for 10 over the track. Overall, she is 8 for 14 with earnings of $518,465.

"She is getting better each time we ask her to step up," Graham said. "She's cool about everything she does."

Karamanos's decision to let her take the lead may have been the key to victory.

"She decided to go on the lead, and I didn't fight her," Karamanos said. "She was comfortable on the lead, and I had a lot of horse left in the stretch."

In the race prior to the Fritchie, Karamanos won the $100,000 John B. Campbell Handicap aboard Page McKenney.

tommy More than 1 year ago
Sams sister should have won!!! This was a fixed race!!! SAMs sister lost by 4 lengths
Mark D More than 1 year ago
So who fixed the race? Were all the trainers...jockeys....and owner in on it? Is this the 1st time a horse shipped 2000 miles and ran a bad race?
tommy More than 1 year ago
Nope!! I see that over 70 percent of races are fixed!!!!! I still like to play the game because I handicap a race and play as if it were to be a honest race and then in same race I play as if it were to be a fixed race. Only in Florida and California tracks I know which races were to be fixed. For example, in California tracks such as golden gate, hollendorfer is part owner so you know his horses have to be first or second. In Santa Anita mandella, baffert they let them use epo to win fixed races. I remember when baffert shipped a horse to pen national for a big race and they drug tested it they scratched his horse!!!
Vince Piscitelli More than 1 year ago
A good friend of mine who is a jockey valet at Laurel can confirm Tommy's suspicions. He said he overheard at least two jocks talking about "holding back." Race fixing, imho, hits about the 77% level. On the other hand sometimes one bets into a good fix so all things even out at the end. Vince P
tommy More than 1 year ago
Vince I have a college degree in exercise physiology, so I know how to determine if a race is fixed just by calculating vo2 max!!! Now 2 things can happen to explain why SAMs sister lost! Reason 1 : hollendorfer is allowed epo for horses races in California to explain why this horse raced twice and achieve the same exact finishing time! Now when he shipped to laurel he wasn't allowed to use epo and the horse lost because it wasn't fit to begin with and had no edge without epo Reason 2: the horse lost because it was pulled Now by calculating vo2 max, I can determine where horses will finish and that's how I know the race is fixed or not!!! Sam sister lost the race but hey still did not best her 7 furlong running at 1:21. The race finished close to 1:24 with Sam sister finishing 7 furlong @ 1:25!!!!! 4 seconds is a big jump!!!
April Smith More than 1 year ago
Looked like snow but then the sun came out at Laurel. It actually started to snow a half hour after the last race!