Joins South Florida Stablemate Bluefield in Seven-Furlong Sprint
Co-Headlines Feb. 17 Winter Carnival with $200K General George (G3)
LAUREL, MD – Miller Racing’s Intrepid Daydream, a three-time stakes winner last year in Maryland, returns after a winter sojourn to South Florida chasing graded-stakes success in the $200,000 Barbara Fritchie (G3) Saturday, Feb. 17 at Laurel Park.
The 70th running of the Barbara Fritchie for fillies and mares 4 and older and the 49th renewal of the $200,000 General George (G3) for 4-year-olds and up, both sprinting seven furlongs, co-headline a Winter Carnival program featuring four stakes worth $600,000 in purses.
Post time for the first of 10 races is 12:25 p.m.
Bred in Maryland by previous owner Paul L. Fowler Jr., 5-year-old Intrepid Daydream was purchased privately after running her win streak to four in the six-furlong Politely over Thanksgiving weekend. Other wins in that stretch came in the Maryland Million Distaff at the Fritchie distance at Laurel and six-furlong Shine Again at historic Pimlico Race Course.
Intrepid Daydream was sent to Gulfstream Park-based trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. following the sale and ran second by a half-length as the favorite behind Spirit Wind in debut for her new connections, the six-furlong Sugar Swirl (G3) Dec. 23. Another recent private purchase, Spirit Wind is now also with Joseph.
“We didn’t have her very long before her first race for us. She shipped in and ran very well that day,” Joseph said. “The last race I thought she was in a good spot and she just flattened. Going into that race, it was a hot week and I don’t know if she didn’t have enough time to climatize. She hasn’t been in Florida long, but the heat’s just been giving her a hard time. We wanted to get her back up where it’ll be cooler.”
Last time out, Intrepid Daydream was within a length and a half of the lead in the seven-furlong Inside Information (G2) on the undercard of Gulfstream’s Pegasus World Cup Invitational Series program Jan. 28 before dropping back to be fourth. She returns to a Laurel track where she has two wins, a second and a third in four tries.
“Obviously she’s been successful there,” Joseph said. “She’s definitely a classy filly. She works well and this morning she worked great again. She had to work well to enter. If everything goes good, she’ll have a good chance.”
Jevian Toledo, aboard for all four races during her win streak, reunites to ride from Post 6.
Joseph also entered stakes-winning stablemate Bluefield, owned and co-bred by Ed Seltzer. The Field Commission mare was second in the Inside Information to open her 8-year-old season after finishing fifth, beaten less than two lengths, in the Sugar Swirl, which came two weeks after her victory in the City of Ocala at Tampa Bay Downs.
“She ran a big race last time. She’s 8 now and she’s gotten a lot better with age. We’d like to add a Grade 3 to her resume, hopefully,” Joseph said. “Seven-eighths is probably the maximum she wants to go, but she’s fine at the distance.”
Bluefield also tried graded company when fourth to her stablemate and subsequent Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) show finisher Three Witches in last summer’s Princess Rooney (G3). Jaime Rodriguez gets the riding assignment from Post 7.
“We didn’t get her until she was 5 turning 6, so we didn’t get her until late,” Joseph said. “But she’s a very solid, honest mare and she gives a lot of try, and she keeps getting better and better.”
Monarch Stables, Inc.’s Last Leaf is a five-time stakes winner, notching victories on turf and dirt. She has run in four previous graded-stakes, finishing third in the 2022 Forward Gal (G3) sprinting seven furlongs at Gulfstream and the six-furlong Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) last fall at Keeneland.
After making her first 14 career starts at Gulfstream with previous trainer Ron Spatz, six of them wins, Last Leaf has raced at six different racetracks on turf, dirt and synthetics since capturing the Audubon Oaks in August 2022 Ellis Park, her most recent win. She has been second or third in eight consecutive races and nine of her last 11.
“She’s just very consistent. She can handle the dirt real well. There’s a lot of different dirt tracks she’s raced on so id imagine she’d handle the track at Laurel good. The distance is not an issue for her, and she’s doing great,” trainer Eddie Kenneally said. “She shows up every time. She’s a hard-trying filly. I think this might be a good spot for her. It’s good timing on the calendar for her and it’s another graded race. Hopefully it can add to her resume.”
Angel Cruz has the call from Post 1 on Last Leaf, who does her best running from mid-pack.
“That’s her running style. She likes to be close but not necessarily on the lead and stalking,” Kenneally said. “That’s kind of how the bulk of her races have unfolded. She might have found herself a little bit too far back the last time and just didn’t get there. I don’t think we’re going to change much.”
Michael Dubb’s Apple Picker, second in back-to-back stakes to cap her 3-year-old campaign, is set to make her season debut in the Fritchie. Winner of the six-furlong Weather Vane last fall at Pimlico, she was beaten a total of 2 ½ lengths in the seven-furlong Safely Kept and 6 ½-furlong Willa On the Move at Laurel in her most recent outings. The Brittany Russell trainee is graded-stakes tested, trying twice as a 2-year-old and finishing fourth in the Raven Run (G2) last October at Keeneland.
Cash is King and LC Racing’s Disco Ebo faced Last Leaf in the 2022 Forward Gal, finishing seventh in her only prior graded attempt. The 5-year-old mare is a stakes winner at Penn National, Mahoning Valley and Parx for trainer Robert E. ‘Butch’ Reid Jr., and most recently emerged from a lengthy duel to win a 6 ½-furlong allowance by a head Jan. 24 at her home track of Parx.
“She’s doing really well,” Reid said. “She came out of the race bouncing and looks happy so that’s why we decided to go ahead and give it a shot in this one.”
HnR Nothhaft Horse Racing’s stakes winner Prodigy Doll will be trying the Fritchie for the third straight year, having run fifth in 2022 and 2023. A 6-year-old daughter of champion Shanghai Bobby, Prodigy Doll exits a 4 ½-length optional claiming allowance triumph sprinting six furlongs Jan. 28 at Laurel under Jeiron Barbosa, who returns to ride from Post 2.
“We were obviously happy to see her run well, and she ran kind of how I expected,” trainer Phil Schoenthal said. “I was a little bit nervous going into the race. The way the racetrack was playing, it looked like speed and the rail were really good. I was worried she might get caught behind the pace and not be able to make up ground wide, but Barbosa worked out a good trip. He wound up close to the lead and it worked out really well.”
Beneath the Stars, a seven-time winner trained and co-owned by Lacey Gaudet that was stakes-placed in 2021 and 2022; R. Larry Johnson homebred Continentalcongres, also twice stakes-placed; and Lugamo Racing Stable and JR Sanchez Racing Stable’s Freccia d’Argento, third or better in 20 of 35 career starts, round out the field.