Updated on 09/17/2011 8:49PM

Maiden has shot in Aqueduct stakes


NEW YORK - One of the traditional highlights of racing over the President's Day holiday weekend are the stakes events at Laurel Park. That track kicks off the proceedings Saturday with a stakes doubleheader consisting of the Grade 2, $200,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap for fillies and mares and the $125,000 John B. Campbell Breeders' Cup Handicap for males going long.

The main event at Gulfstream is the Shirley Jones Handicap, which, like the Barbara Fritchie, is a seven-furlong race for fillies and mares. Santa Anita's headliner is the San Luis Obispo Handicap, but this turf marathon looks like it could be compromised by rain. There is only a slight chance of rain in New Orleans, which means the Grade 3, $125,000 Bayou Breeders' Cup Handicap for fillies and mares should remain on turf as scheduled.

Barbara Fritchie Handicap

Bear Fan is repeating a pattern that proved successful for her last year, when she came off a loss in the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint to win this race, but she seems vulnerable. When Bear Fan was a close third in last year's Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint, she was tons the best after a terrible trip. She had no real excuse in that race this year, however, when she was soundly beaten and finished second. Moreover, the 87 Beyer Speed Figure Bear Fan got last time out was her lowest since May 2003, and she may prefer slightly less distance than the seven furlongs of this race.

Josh's Madelyn is the pick. Josh's Madelyn didn't run a jump when the beaten favorite in last month's American Beauty Stakes, but that was her first start in three months, and she probably needed the race. She is now stretching out to a distance at which she recorded impressive victories in her last two starts of 2004, including a last-to-first score in the Grade 2 Raven Run at Keeneland.

Fred "Cappy" Capossela Stakes

Even today, there are a lot of horseplayers who refuse to bet a maiden against winners, let alone a maiden in a stakes race against winners of multiple races. I hope those players are out in force Saturday, because the maiden Attila's Storm is a firm play in this spot.

Attila's Storm may be winless after two starts, but he comes out of two maiden races at Santa Anita that were stakes-class. In his debut, he finished ahead of 10 opponents when a sharp third, beaten only a little more than two lengths by Going Wild, who came back to win the San Miguel and the Sham Stakes there in his next two starts. Most recently, Attila's Storm was second to another very promising opponent, Only in Reno, who was only a neck in front of him for second in that maiden race won by Going Wild.

Not only has Attila's Storm kept better company than the horses he faces in this stakes event, he has also run very fast. His two Beyer Figures of 98 and 97 are better by a considerable margin than anything his opponents Saturday have received. And being so lightly raced, Attila's Storm figures to only improve.

Bayou Breeders' Cup Handicap

Sister Swank was the beaten favorite in the Pago Hop Stakes in her first start of the meet, but she is perfectly set up to make amends this time.

Sister Swank was beaten a neck in the Pago Hop by Shadow Cast, who has maintained good form with a win in the more recent Truly Bound Handicap. The difference here, however, has to do with pace. Outside of the big class-jumper Ide Be a Lady, there is no real speed in this race. In light of the good positional speed Sister Swank showed in her first three starts on turf, including a win in the Grade 3 Valley View, she projects to be a sweetly placed second in the early running. That will give her an ideal trip and first jump on her real competition.


Aqueduct: Fred 'Cappy' Capossela Stakes
3-year-olds, 6 furlongs
Approximate post: Eastern-3:48 p.m., Central-2:48 p.m., Mountain-1:48 p.m., Pacific-12:48 p.m.; Ozone Park, N. Y., forecast: Partly cloudy, 30 degrees

1Benjamin Baby8953837-5
4Distinctive Trick79797110-1
6Attila's Storm9798-8-5

Odds by Jim Kachulis

Laurel Park: Barbara Fritchie Handicap
Fillies and mares, 3 and up, 7 furlongs
Approximate post: E-5:13 p.m., C-4:13 p.m., M-3:13 p.m., P-2:13 p.m.; Laurel, Md., forecast: Partly cloudy, 39 degrees

1Sensibly Chic10888919-2
3Spectacular Moon78787930-1
4Josh's Madelyn879810410-1
6Lavender Lass86878312-1
7Bear Fan871021121-1
10Santa Croce84807920-1

Track morning line odds

Fair Grounds: Bayou Breeders' Cup Handicap
Fillies and mares, 4 and up, about 1 1/8 miles, turf
Approximate post: E-5:22 p.m., C-4:22 p.m., M-3:22 p.m., P-2:22 p.m.; New Orleans, La., forecast: Slight chance of rain, 64 degrees

1Sister Swank8591907-2
2Ide Be a Lady92877015-1
3Cape Town Lass8482928-1
4May Gator7598899-2
5Shadow Cast9786842-1
6Humorous Miss77728612-1
8My Misty Princess77939110-1

Odds by Vance Hanson