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Xtra Heat Wins Fritchie, Sets Stakes Mark
by Blood-Horse Staff

Xtra Heat set a stakes record with Barbara Fritchie victory.

Under a thick blanket of fog Saturday, Xtra Heat captured a record 25th career stakes victory in the $200,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap (gr. II) on a sloppy track at Laurel Park.

The seven-furlong heat figured to be a battle between Xtra Heat and Carson Hollow. But after Carson Hollow, with Kent Desormeaux riding, dueled for the early lead in an opening quarter-mile of :22 4/5, Xtra Heat was able to fight her way to the front through a half-mile in :45 2/5 and cleared off to establish a commanding lead in the stretch. Jockey Rick Wilson eased the favorite home by 1 3/4 length over Carson Hollow in a final time of 1:24.76. Spelling was third.

Trainer John Salzman was concerned about how his 5-year-old mare would respond to the off track after she was beaten on a muddy Aqueduct surface in December. But he was committed to run her after waiting a week for the weather to clear well enough to run the Fritchie, which was originally scheduled Feb. 15.

"I didn't have any trouble around the track," Wilson said. "John (trainer Salzman) was a little ticked off that we didn't make the lead, and he had told me earlier in the week that if I didn't make the lead he was going to kick my butt. I wanted Kent to think that I was getting in to her at the three-eighth pole so that he would move with me, but once we got in front, I was sure we were a winner."

Desormeaux said Carson Hollow struggled to handle the course dwon the backstretch.

"A hundred yards into the turn Rick seemed to be going for the lead which shocked me, because I didn't think he would try to move that early and I didn't want to let him go," he said. "He got me today, but I still think my horse is the best and was the classiest horse in the race."

With the victory in the Fritchie, Xtra Heat became the all-time leading female stakes winner. The 2001 Eclipse Award winner as top 3-year-old filly was tied with Susan's Girl with 24 added money victories.

"She is game and she proved how good she was today," Salzman said. "That other filly had never been outrun except for the day she was sick at the Breeders' Cup. She deserves this record. You look at her and she is truly amazing."

The daughter of Dixieland Heat, now victorious in 26 of 35 career starts, picked up $120,000 for owner Classic Star Stable. She has career earnings of $2,389,635.

Xtra Heat paid $4, $2.60 and $2.10. Carson Hollow returned $3 and $2.10. Spelling paid $2.10 to show. The $2 exacta was $12.20.


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