Skipat, the highweight at 125, nevertheless sped to a 3 1/2-length victory over favored Pearl Necklace in the $82,700 Barbara Fritchie Handicap yesterday on the final day of Bowies 1979 winter meeting.
Skipat, winner of four of five starts this season, was assigned the high weight because of her recent excellentform, though the crowd of 13,291 made Pearl Necklace, winner of over $450,000, the 17-to-10 favorite.
Silver Ice, Skipat and Pearl Necklace were first out of the gate for the Fritchie, with Dancing Cobra fourth on the outside.
In the middle of the backstretch, Skipat, ridden by James Edwards, held a short lead when jockey Jose Amy asked Pearl Necklace for speed. The two battled head to head for a sixteenth of a mile before Skipat began to draw away, despite some fast fractions.
At the eighth pole, Skipat had opened up and Edwards was striking her from the left side. At the wire, it was skipat alone running with authority in 1:22.2 for the seven furlongs.
"She's somerthing special," said trainer Daniel Hasbany. "She's had problems and I play it by ear. But yes, she will be running in routes (longer and more lucrative races) before long."
Owned and bred by John A. Grondin of Norwich, conn., Skipat earned $53,755 for her owner and made her the highest money earner ever bred in Connecticut. The granddaughter of Nashua has earned over $230,000.
Skipat's victory also silenced some critics of Bowie's racing secretary, larry abbundi, for the second straight week. Last week, Abbundi listed Mr. Brea at 124 for the Campbell Handicap, raising many eyebrows. Mr. Brea never had won an added-money event, but easily prevailed in the Campbell.
Skipat paid $7.80; $4.20 and $4.20, Pearl Necklace $3.60 and $3 and The Very One $7.80. The 2-4 exacta paid $25.80.
Bowie's final program ended a meeting that saw a 6.7 percent drop in attendance and a decline of 5.5 percent in betting. The average daily attendance was 7,924 and the average daily handle $1,019,943.