03/26/2016 4:01PM

Lady Sabelia runs down Disco Chick to win Primonetta Stakes

Maryland Jockey Club photo
Lady Sabelia, with regular rider Horacio Karamanos aboard, gets her eighth stakes win in the Primonetta Stakes on Saturday.

Lady Sabelia had to work harder than expected for a 3-5 shot in the $75,000 Primonetta Stakes at Laurel Park on Saturday, but in the end, she rewarded her many backers, gradually wearing down the pacesetting Disco Chick down the stretch to win by half a length. It was the eighth stakes win of her career.

With regular rider Horacio Karamanos aboard, Lady Sabelia initially tracked the pace three wide as Disco Chick and Dallas Cowgirl led the field through a quarter-mile in 22.79 seconds. Lady Sabelia advanced three wide to challenge the leaders on the backstretch, and after a half-mile in 45.88 seconds, Dallas Cowgirl dropped back around the turn, leaving only Disco Chick and Lady Sabelia in contention.

Disco Chick had a 1 1/2-length lead at the head of the lane, but Lady Sabelia steadily ate into that advantage, pulling ahead late and finishing the six-furlong sprint in 1:10.84 on a fast track. She paid $3.20 as the heavy favorite in a field of seven fillies and mares ages 3 and up.  

Disco Chick finished 2 3/4 lengths ahead of Love Came to Town, who was demoted to fourth place for interfering with Sweet On Smokey. They were followed by Raging Smoke, Dallas Cowgirl, and Court Dancer.

Lady Sabelia, a 6-year-old Majestic Warrior mare, entered Saturday’s race off a third-place finish as the defending champion in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie Stakes on Feb. 13. Trainer Robin Graham said she wasn’t surprised by that result, saying after the Primonetta that the horse was a little bit short for her first start of the year. But the mare signaled her readiness for the Primonetta by firing a bullet workout at Laurel on March 19, a half-mile in 46.60 seconds.

“She’s a wonderful mare,” Graham said. “She tries and gives you all she has every time.”

Lady Sabelia went 4 for 6 last year for owner and breeder Mrs. Frank P. Wright, including three wins in $100,000 stakes – the What a Summer, Pumpkin Pie, and Willa On the Move. She’s won 11 of 20 career starts and earned $740,465. She’s 8 for 14 at Laurel Park, with only one finish out of the money.