Laurel Park played host to five stakes on Saturday’s Winter Carnival Day program, including a pair of Grade 3 contests in the Barbara Fritchie and General George Stakes.
The final stakes of the day, the $250,000 Barbara Fritchie, saw Late Night Pow Wow prevail by a head over a very game Spiced Perfection.
The two distaffers hooked up in the stretch after tracking the early pace set by Ms Locust Point, who wired this contest by 4 1/2 lengths last year. Late Night Pow Wow gained the advantage on the inside but Spiced Perfection was tenacious. Only a head separated the pair on the wire, with Late Night Pow Wow and regular rider Fredy Peltroche getting the victory in a final time of 1:21.61 for seven furlongs on the fast main track.
“My filly won six furlongs going wire to wire and I never moved on her. This time, I broke good and got good position and waited,” Peltroche said. “(Ms Locust Point) came in a little bit but I didn’t check my horse because I had a lot of horse. I sent her up the rail and in the stretch it was only the one filly (Spiced Perfection) coming.
“(Late Night Pow Wow) likes the big stretch here. Her other races were easier, but this race was very tough,” he added.
“You’re always a little nervous but I wasn’t really nervous, nervous. I know how she is,” Charles Town-based trainer Javier Contreras said. “I know she’ll give you everything, every time.”
Sent off the 2-1 favorite, the Fiber Sonde filly paid $6 for recording her ninth straight triumph. Spiced Perfection was best of the rest, three lengths up on Dawn the Destroyer who in turn had a neck to spare on Ms Locust Point.
Late Night Pow Wow has thus far suffered only one loss in her 12-race career and accumulated $619,400 in lifetime earnings. The dark bay miss captured her debut by 6 1/2 lengths for Contreras, who also owned the filly at that point. He then sold her privately to Mike Hall and Sam Ross of Breeze Easy LLC and she rewarded her new owners with a seven-length romp while making her sophomore bow last April.
The West Virginia-bred then missed by a half-length running second in her stakes bow, the Its Binn Too Long Stakes, just eight days later. She was given a six-week break and hasn’t lost since, racking up six more wins at Charles Town, including the Charles Town Oaks (G3) and West Virginia Cavada Breeders’ Classic, before shifting over to Laurel Park.
The four-year-old lass closed out her sophomore campaign with a five-length victory in the Willa On the Move Stakes in late November and opened 2019 with a 6 1/4-length score in the What a Summer Stakes on January 12.
“Every race, when you get out of town and start facing the real racehorses it’s always a big deal,” Contreras said. “What an exciting thing. There’s no words to really describe it. It’s just amazing. She’s come a long way. A long way.
“I’m sure there’s some plans for her later on. There’s a couple of stakes. We’re not really sure where we’re going but she’s going to have to face probably the same or even a little better,” Contreras said. “We’re going to have to sit down and really, really enjoy this.”
One race earlier in the $250,000 General George, trainer Jenn Patterson saddled her first stakes runner with just her 18th lifetime starter in Uncontested, who led all the way home under jockey Trevor McCarthy.
The duo stumbled out of the gate and bumped with Colonel Sharp, but that didn’t stop them from grabbing command soon after. Uncontested turned away a challenge from late-running Majestic Dunhill in the shadow of the wire to finish seven furlongs in 1:21.06.
Sent off the 3-1 second choice in the 14-horse field, Uncontested returned $8 for the win. Majestic Dunhill was a length behind in second at 25-1, while Laki followed another 1 1/4 lengths back in third. Do Share rounded out the superfecta at 26-1 a length further adrift.
“The plan was just to go and get him out and get a nice clean break with him and don’t take anything away from him,” McCarthy explained. “He’s kind of a funny horse. As soon as he established his lead most guys would kind of want to reach back and save a little something but with him, it’s just let him get into his stride. When he gets that big stride rolling, they ain’t catching him.
“He’s such a big, beautiful horse and Jenn has done such a great job with him. I’m just so thankful I get to ride him.”
Patterson, a former exercise rider and assistant trainer to Shug McGaughey, took over conditioning duties on Uncontested last fall. The dark bay son of Tiz Wonderful spent his first 12 starts under the care of trainer Wayne Catalano, for whom he won the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park and finished third in the Pat Day Mile (G3) at Churchill Downs as a sophomore.
“It’s amazing,” Patterson said. “I was crying. I definitely had tears in my eyes because it was the first stakes race. It’s an honor training a horse like this, and for this horse alone I was excited about coming here and running in this race because he’s been doing so well and I don’t think he’s been able to show how good he really is. He’s got a lot of talent and he is very fast.”
Uncontested captured his initial outing for Patterson on December 23 at Laurel, going gate-to-wire in an allowance/optional claimer to be five lengths clear on the wire. Campaigned by Robert V. LaPenta and Harry T. Rosenblum, the Kentucky-bred five-year-old is now 5-1-1 from 14 career starts having banked $391,893 in lifetime earnings.
Three Diamonds Farm’s Bonus Points added a third stakes win to his resume when rallying for a neck score in the $100,000 John B. Campbell Stakes under jockey Feargal Lynch.
Biding his time with only one horse beat on the backstretch, Bonus Points rallied three wide around the turn and then angled out into the six path for the stretch run. The Todd Pletcher trainee bumped with Monongahela in the lane and dug in to get the victory over that 6-5 favorite and 2-1 second choice Unbridled Juan, who was another neck back in third on the wire.
“Feargal gave him a smart ride and seems to have a good rapport with the horse,” Pletcher said by phone from Gulfstream Park. “It was a good stretch battle and he just kept finding a little more. It looked like it was going to be close that last sixteenth and it was one those things where who’s going to want it more at the end. He kept finding more. It was fun to watch, and I’m proud of him for getting it done.”
Bonus Points was worth $25.40 for the win, having been sent off at 11-1. Hero of the Maryland Million Classic and Parx Derby in 2017, the Majestic Warrior five-year-old is now 24-6-5-5, $532,684, in his career.
Las Setas didn’t cut it close at all in the $100,000 Wide Country Stakes, setting the pace en route to a 5 1/2-length victory for trainer Katherine Voss.
The three-year-old daughter of Seville broke her maiden last out by 1 3/4 lengths at Laurel and was making her stakes debut in this spot under regular rider Jevian Toledo. The pair were sent off at 9-1 and got the win over even-money favorite Our Super Freak in a final time of 1:22.99 for seven furlongs.
“This filly has shown an awful lot of ability,” Voss said. “The race, the timing and the distance were perfect for her.”
Las Setas was bred in Maryland by Voss and Robert T. Manfuso, and is campaigned by those two along with Wayne A. Harrison. The bay miss improved her career record to read 3-2-0-0, $91,240.
Alwaysmining kicked off the stakes action at Laurel Park on Saturday in the $100,000 Miracle Wood Stakes, and easily lived up to his 3-5 favoritism with a 4 1/4-length front-running score.
The Runnymede Racing colorbearer did all the running under jockey Daniel Centeno and finished up a mile in 1:34.27. Trained by Kelly Rubley, the Stay Thirsty sophomore gelding added a third stakes win to his resume.
“I thought it was brilliant,” Rubley said. “We got to go :24 for the first quarter which was ideal. I thought we’d get some pressure today so that was perfect. They let him get away with it and Danny felt he had a lot of horse at the end.”
Alwaysmining has now captured his last four races and boasts a 10-5-0-1 line to go along with $251,192 in lifetime earnings.