The best horse to come out of Mount Airy, Md., won the $55,800 Barbara Fritchie Handicap yesterday at Bowie Race course.
Mt. Airy Queen was foaled on a farm some 15 miles from Frederick, the town where Fritchie made poetic history in her Civil War encounter with Stonewall Jackson. The 4-year-old filly had won four stakes before yesterday, but the Fritchie victory is by far the richest ($36,270) of her career.
At the finish, Mt. Airy Queen had overtaken Avum by a neck with Forty Nine Sunsets, the 6-to-5 favorite, finishing third, nearly two lengths behind the runner-up in the field of six.
Ten fillies and mares originally were entered in the seven-furlong sprint. Shark's Jaws and Enchanted Native were scratched early. Susie's Last came out later, while Bold Brat flipped in her stall, injuring an ankle, and could not make it to the paddock.
"Some of that speed coming out of there changed the nature of the race," Leslie Glazier acknowledged. "I think Bold Brat, for instance, had beaten my filly more than we'd beaten her. You always like to see the number of rivals reduced."
Glazier is the owner, trainer, breeder and sometime groom - when her daughter isn't - of Mt. Airy Queen. She had jockey Danny Wright had to wait in the winner's circle for 10 anxious minutes while stewards studied films following their "injury." Chris McCarron, rider of Cast The Die, also claimed four against Forty Nine Sunsets, to no avail.
Glazier, once the finish was made official was invited to the trustees room for a champagne celebration. She was not dressed for the occasion, being in working clothes, so she declined saying: "I've got to get my filly back to the barn now. Today, I'm also the groom."
Did that mean the owner, trainer, breeder and sometime-groom had not expected Mt. Airy Queen to win?
"No, no exactly," she replied. "I thought we had a chance. Evenwhen she gets beat, she runs honestly, and I thought she would today."
Mt. Airy Queen paid $15 straight as the fourth choice and combined with Avum for a $121.20 return on the 4-8 exacta. Avum, the longest price on the broad, at 21 to 1, led by more than two lengths leaving the eighth pole.
The Fritchie victo is a product of Glazier's Derby Hill Farm. Her breeding line shows Dead Ahead on top, Tonta Mary (by Sherluck) on the bottom. Glazier, whose married name is Mrs. William Holmes, secured the mare as part of a board-bill settlement involving two mares for $1,000. Mt. Airy Queen now has earned more than $100,000.
The stewards' inquiry concerned "an incident at the start." McCarron's claim of fourl centered on action approaching the stretch turn, when Mt. Airy Queen, Cast The Die and Forty Nine Sunsets were in close quarters. McCarron's objection did not involve the winner, which was on the rail at the time with Cast The Die in the middle of the threesome.