Pearl Necklace, a surprise entrant and the obvious class of the field, heads a quality group of 10 fillies and mares today in the $75,000-added Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Bowie on the final day of the track's 1979 winter meeting.
Pearl Necklace, a 5-year-old daughter of Ambernach with earnings of $455,625, spent the winter in South Carolina and will be making her first start of 1979.
Trainer Toger Laurin, who developed a pair of fine fillies, Miss Cavendish and Numbered Account, was not certain he would enter Pearl Necklace until she blazed a half-mile in 46 seconds over Belmont Park's training track Tuesday.
Pearl Necklace has been assigned 122 pounds for today's race, with Jose Amy replacing regular rider Ruben Hernandez.
Skipat, a triple stakes winner this year, including a six-length triumph in last Saturday's Distaff Handicap at Aqueduct in 1:10 2/5 under a 122-pound impost, will carry high weight today at 125.
The 5-year-old daughter of Jungle Cove is closely related to Nashua and was bred by J. A. Grondin, a New England clothing manufacturer. Skipat is the biggest equine money winner ever bred in Connecticut with a bankroll of 182,538.
Chief competition for Pearl Necklace & Skipat is expected to be C. Oliver Goldsmith's Silver Ice, winner of a swiftly run allowance race at Bowie last week.
Silver Ice holds a current string of three victories, including the Connicer and My Juliet stakes, all carrying 121 pounds or more. The daughter of Icecapade has been tabbed with a 124-pound package for today seven-furlong race.
In her last start, Silver Ice sped three quarters of a mile in 1:10 4/5 while winning that allowance event by eight lengths. The gary4-year-old will be ridden by Gregg McCarron.
Others with excellent credentials are Hagany and Monlight Jig.
Hagany defeated Bold Brat, winner of last year's Barbara Fritchie, and holds a nose victory over First Skater, winner of the Poinciana at hialeah two weeks ago.
Moonlight Jig, rated fourth in the weights at 119 by Racing Secretary Larry Abbundi, will be ridden by Vince Bracciale, who is returning to Maryland after a successful campaign at Aqueduct. Moonlight Jig, a granddaughter of Vative Dancer, shows a bankroll of nearly $200,000 most of which has come in allowance races."
Completing the field are Dancing Cobra, second to Silver Ice in the Conniver; Sea Drone, and allowance winner of $30,455 last year; Moorish Idol, winner of an allowance race at Laurel by 10 lenghts; The Very On, a late-running daughter of One For All with earnings of $77,000 last year, and Sub Rosa, winner over a solid allowance field last week at Bowie.
Should all 10 entrants go to the post in today's feature, the gross value of $84,000 will be the richest running of the Barbara Fritchie. Net value to the winner will be $54,600.