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Majestic Reason Makes the Grade in $250,000 Barbara Fritchie
Maryland’s Champion Older Female of 2019 Springs $22.20 Upset
LAUREL, MD – Hillwood Stable and Richard Golden’s homebred Majestic Reason, just days after being crowned Maryland’s champion older mare of 2019, celebrated in style by becoming a graded-stakes winner in Saturday’s $250,000 Runhappy Barbara Fritchie (G3) at Laurel Park.
The 68th running of the Barbara Fritchie for fillies and mares 4 and older shared top billing with the 44th renewal of the $250,000 General George for 4-year-olds and up, both at seven furlongs, on a Winter Carnival program featuring five stakes worth $800,000.
Earlier in the day, Alwaysmining won the $100,000 John B. Campbell for 4-year-olds and up, Naughty Thoughts upset the $100,000 Wide Country for 3-year-old fillies, and Lebda captured the $100,000 Miracle Wood for 3-year-olds.
It was the third career stakes victory for the 5-year-old Majestic Reason ($22.20), all at Laurel, where she has never been off the board in 10 tries, five of them wins. She had a record of 3-2-1 and $201,892 in purse earnings last year, winning the Willa On the Move and running second in the Politely and third in the Gallant Bloom (G2) to earn championship honors at the annual Renaissance Awards Feb. 11.
“I kind of was hoping she could come and justify being a champion and she really did, which doesn’t surprise me at all,” winning trainer Graham Motion said. “She always steps up.”
Motion, based at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md., and Maryland’s 2019 riding champion Trevor McCarthy each won the Fritchie for the first time. The winning time was 1:23.35 over a fast main track.
“It worked out perfectly with two speed horses vying and we were able to sit right behind them. We had a nice easy pace. She’s a filly that doesn't like to be rushed. The seven-eighths was a bit of a question but she got the right trip today,” McCarthy said. “It was a great job by Graham. It’s always special when we win races for Graham. He’s been the main supporter of my career and started me out. It’s a special moment. It’s definitely a race that has been on my bucket list for a while.”
McCarthy was able to settle Majestic Reason in mid-pack as Blue Eyed Girl, a winner of three straight making her stakes debut, took the field of six through an opening quarter-mile in 23.79 seconds. She was still in front after a half in 46.87, pressed the whole way by Jan. 18 What A Summer Stakes winner Victim of Love.
It was Victim of Love that took first run at the leader on the turn and forged a short lead but Majestic Reason swung outside and was set down for the stretch drive by McCarthy once straightened for home, opening up to win by 2 ¼ lengths. Victim of Love was second, a half-length in front of late-running Anna’s Bandit, a 10-time stakes winner making her graded debut.
Needs Supervision was fourth, followed by Blue Eyed Girl and multiple stakes winner Saguaro Row, the 4-5 favorite.
“I am so proud of her. She seems to get better every race. She just ran beautifully,” Hillwood’s Ellen Charles said. “This filly has never disappointed us. She’s a wonderful, wonderful filly.”
Majestic Reason finished a length behind Anna’s Bandit in the Politely but came back with a three-quarter-length win in the six-furlong Willa On the Move Dec. 28. Motion said they talked about giving the Majestic Warrior mare some time off and even retirement but opted to target the Fritchie instead.
“I wanted to put her away for the winter, but I just couldn’t not point for this race. It’s just too big a deal,” Motion said. “It’s a graded race, it’s right here at Laurel and she loves Laurel, and she was doing great coming off a big win. There was discussion about retiring her or giving her the winter off, but I’m glad we stayed the course.”
The win pushed Majestic Reason’s career bankroll to $462,998 from 13 starts, six of them wins. In 2018, she won the Miss Disco and was second in the All Brandy and third in the Safely Kept at Laurel before returning with an allowance win last May at Pimlico Race Course.
Winless in four previous races going seven furlongs, Majestic Reason was beaten 11 ½ lengths when fifth in the Pumpkin Pie Stakes in November at Aqueduct in her most recent try at the distance.
“Her only bad race was that race at Aqueduct where she just ran too badly to be true. I just don’t think she handled the track at all. She’s never done anything wrong, this filly. She’s phenomenal. She’s so straightforward and so honest. I felt really good about running her today,” Motion said. “The only reservation I’ve had up to this is that she’s trained on the all-weather [surface] and I’ve never trained her on the all-weather before. She handles it really well. I’m thinking maybe she might have grass in her future.”
Motion was unsure when or where Majestic Reason would run next.
“I don’t know. This was my target. I would like to give her a little freshening, even if it’s just kind of a month of not doing much and maybe look at the summer. I really haven’t thought about it. Maybe something at Pimlico. She loves this track, so there’s something to be said for keeping her here, too,” Motion said. “I know I say it a lot, but she really is one of our favorites. She’s just a hard-knocking filly.”