Two $100,000 races are featured on the same card for the first time in Maryland racing history today. The Barbara Fritchie Handicap will be contested in divisions at Laurel Race Course on the final day of its winter meeting.
Split into nine-horse fields as the sixth and eighth races, the seven-furlong event for fillies and mares offers divisional purses of $111,460. Winners will receive $72,443 and an additional $16,200 if they are eligible for Breeders' Cup premium awards.
Jolly Mariner, winner of three consecutive races in New York, and Applause, winner of the Feb. 24 Barbara Fritchie Prep at Laurel, will probably be divisional favorites.
The John Parisella-trained Jolly Mariner, a 4-year-old filly who won Aqueduct's Correction Handicap by four lengths two weeks ago, is a sprinter who should benefit from post position 1. Ridden by Mike Venezia, she will be pressed early by Sharp Little Girl and late by Kattegat's Pride, the divisional highweight who won $171,778 in 1984.
Applause, a 5-year-old trained by John Mobberley, has finished worse than third once in 26 career starts and is scheduled to be ridden by Donald Miller Jr., Laurel's victory leader.