02/14/2009 12:00AM

Royale Michele proves both lucky and good


Royale Michele took advantage of a great trip and some misfortune for the odds-on favorite Seventh Street to record a 1 3/4-length upset victory in Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Laurel Park.

The speedy Seventh Street, the 4-5 favorite, leapt in the air at the start and was four lengths last out of the gate. Meanwhile, Royale Michele, under Geovany Garcia, settled into fifth position down the backside while By the Light set the pace stalked by Access Fee.

Royale Michele advanced steadily along the rail, had to wait briefly around the turn, then tipped three wide for the stretch drive. By the Light ran away from Access Fee and maintained a 2 1/2-length lead at the eighth pole, but Royale Michele gradually wore her down inside the sixteenth pole for her fourth consecutive victory.

Royale Michele, a 4-year-old daughter of Elusive Quality, covered the seven furlongs in 1:23.33 and returned $22.20.

"I just sat behind the three horses, come out a little bit from the quarter pole to the wire, and she gave me everything," said Garcia, who captured the first stakes victory of his career.

After her horrid start, Seventh Street, who entered the Fritchie with three convincing wins, ran a spectacular race to be second, 1 3/4 lengths clear of Fascinatin' Rhythm. They were followed by By the Light, Now It Begins, Access Fee, and Dream Rush, who was making her final career start. A Rose for You was scratched.

Royale Michele's four consecutive wins have all come for trainer Matthew Kintz. Her three previous victories had come at Mountaineer, including a three-length score in the New Year's Eve Stakes on Dec. 30.

Kintz shipped Royale Michele to Laurel a week ago to get her acclimated to her surroundings as well as get a work over the track.

"I was really happy with her work over the track and she settled in nice" said Kintz, who captured his first Grade 2 stakes victory. "I'm real glad I came over early."

Jockey Rajiv Maragh said that as the gate opened, Seventh Street "went up in the air on all four legs. It was so remarkable for her come in the race and do what she did. In my eyes we were 10 lengths the best."

Richard's Kid scores upset in John Campbell

Apprentice jockey Jenna Joubert picked up her first stakes victory when she guided Richard's Kid down the center of the track for a last-to-first one-length victory in the $50,000 John B. Campbell Handicap.

Bullsbay, the 4-5 favorite, finished second by one-half length over P V Lightening.

Richard's Kid was more than 20 lengths behind at one point, launched a wide rally around the turn, and charged past the rest of field in the stretch. Richard's Kid, a 4-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid owned by Fitzhugh Stable and trained by Richard Small, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.01 and returned $23.80.

"He's an amazing horse," Joubert said. "To be that far back and come home like that is great. When I first got on him people said, 'That's a stakes horse, Jenna,' and he got that for me."