Laurel Park Set to Host Two Sprint Stakes on Saturday

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Ted Black

January 12th, 2017

This coming Saturday afternoon, weather permitting, Laurel Park will offer its final two local preps for the lucrative General George and Barbara Fritchie Stakes both set for February 18 when it presents both the Fire Plug Stakes for older males and the What A Summer Stakes for fillies and mares.

A moderate field of seven distaffers will clash in the six-furlong $75,000 What A Summer Stakes, but much of the attention will focus on local runner Lovable Lady. A six-year-old Not For Love mare trained by Mary Eppler, the leading conditioner at the Laurel fall meet, Lovable Lady won five of 11 starts last year and banked over $250,000. She capped her campaign with a handy score in the $100,000 Willa On The Move Stakes, her third such score of the season.
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Lovable Lady has always thrived over the local strip, posting a 6-2-3 slate and $290,000 banked from 13 starts at Laurel, including three wins in four starts at the distance over the strip. Lovable Lady owns a 5-1-3 slate and $245,000 banked from nine starts overall at the six-furlong distance, but she has won only twice in eight starts at other distances and settled for third as the 4-5 choice in the Maryland Million Distaff at seven panels, the same distance of the Barbara Fritchie here next month.

Then two races later in the $75,000 Fire Plug, named for one of the genuine hard-knocking sprinters of the late 1980's and early 1990's who finished third in the 1992 edition of the General George, Chief Lion will look to regain his winning ways following a sharp, second-place finish behind Heaven's Runway, a likely General George participant, in the $100,000 Dave's Friend Stakes here on New Year's Eve. Owned and trained by David Jacobson, Chief Lion has ample raw speed and has led several stakes to the head of the lane but his latest victories have come against allowance foes while lucrative scores have eluded him to this point.