Laurel-loving High Ridge Road looks best in Barbara Fritchie

The Grade II Barbara Fritchie Stakes for female sprinters in the feature at Laurel Park this Saturday. The seven-furlong event worth $300,000 goes as Race 9 on a stakes-packed program; post time is approximately 4:30 p.m. EST. Don’t forget to try out FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game in addition to watching and wagering!

#1 HIGH RIDGE ROAD (5-2) was last seen winning Laurel’s Thirty Eight Go Go Stakes over #3 BY THE MOON (2-1, morning-line favorite) on New Year’s Eve. HIGH RIDGE ROAD seemed to relish the one-mile distance of that heat while through-and-through sprinter BY THE MOON was tiring late. It’s possible the tables will turn on Saturday at seven furlongs, but I’m not betting on it. HIGH RIDGE ROAD is 3-for-3 over this strip, and trainer Linda Rice chooses here spots here very carefully (20-6-3-2). Horacio Karamanos will have the call.

#6 TAKREES (6-1) merits respect off a gritty win in Aqueduct’s Interborough Stakes. She has experience over this course, getting up for second despite a rough trip in the Safely Kept Stakes two-back. The way she closed in the six-furlong Interborough suggests she won’t mind going seven today. TAKREES is trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, who won last year’s Barbara Fritchie with Dancing House. Irad Ortiz Jr. maintains the mount.

BY THE MOON certainly has the back class to compete with these; she’s the lone runner with a graded stakes win to her credit (last June’s Grade III Bed o’ Roses at Belmont). Her first start since her decent fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint was a runner-up decision behind top choice HIGH RIDGE ROAD. Though she does shorten up from a mile today, it may not help her. After all, she seemed to handle one mile well enough in 2015, taking the Caesar’s Wish Stakes over this course and getting up for second in the Grade I Acorn at Belmont. Mid-Atlantic region specialist Victor Carrasco has the call.

The play: $5 exacta box 1/6 ($10)

DFJ analysis: Irad Ortiz Jr. takes his show on the road this Saturday, and he has several live mounts. Of his eight rides at Laurel, four are program favorites, including Stallwalkin’ Dude in the Grade II General George. His Barbara Fritchie mount, TAKREES, has a very good chance to at least hit the board at 6-1.

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