Stellarette held on to a narrow lead in the stretch run to win the $100,000-added Barbara Fritchie by a neck over Hoist Emy's Flag yesterday at Bowie.
Cheap Seats, the cofavorite with fifth-place finisher Kattegat's Pride, held well for third. Stellarette, a speed horse, was off slowly in the seven-furlong headliner, but jockey Alberto Delgado found room along the rail throughout the backstretch run to be in command when the field of 10 turned for home.
In the run to the wire, Amanti, the early leader, dropped back, and Hoist Emy's Flag loomed menacingly along the rail under Vince Bracciale. But Delgado urged his mount with a strong hand ride and prevailed in a driving finish.
Delgado said, "This is the biggest race I've ever won. I had to get into her through the stretch."
Trainer Mel Gross, who earlier in the day had saddled Canadian Factor, victor in the $75,000-added Bowie Stakes, said, "This is one of the biggest days of my career, perhaps surpassing the many victories with On The Sly."
Canadian Factor actually finished second in the Bowie, but was awarded the winner's share when the stewards said that Noble Home, ridden by Donald Miller, had bothered Bracciale astride Gross' 3-year-old colt.
The "inquiry" sign was flashed immediately after the running of the Bowie by the stewards. The inquiry was followed soon after by a claim of foul by Bracciale.
A review of the films showed that Noble Home had ducked out when struck on the left side by Miller and caused Bracciale to take up briefly at the head of the stretch. Noble Home had been disqualified at Laurel after winning for a similar offense in December.
Bracciale said, "The leader (Noble Home) came over on me and clipped heels." Miller said, "I thought I was clear all the way."
Stellarette paid $11.40 on the nose and brought her earnings past the $200,000 mark. She posted a 1:24 2/5 clocking and topped a 2-7 exacta worth $74.20.
Canadian Factor paid $6.40 after running the 1 1/16 miles in a lively 1:45 2/5, duplicating the workout time of Blackie Daw, who worked between races for next Saturday's John B. Campbell Handicap. The crowd of 13,845 pushed $1,958,563 through the mutuel machines.