Moon Mist leaves Barbara Fritchie favorites all wet

February 14, 1993|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

Not many horses have won Laurel's Grade II Barbara Fritchie Handicap by winning preps at Penn National Race Course.

But when the big money was on the line yesterday, it was Moon Mist, a Canadian ship-in by way of Penn National, that was all alone at the wire.

Instead of Moon Mist and her local jockey, Tommy Turner, getting wet and dirty, it was the big name jockeys -- Chris McCarron, Laffit Pincay, Jr. and Chris Antley -- that came back covered with mud.

Ten days ago when Moon Mist won a prep for the Barbara Fritchie at Laurel, someone asked the filly's trainer, Wray Lawrence, if he was afraid of all the good horses shipping in for the race.

"I don't care who comes," he said.

None of the favorites -- Devil's Orchid, Quick Mischief or Laramie Moon, who had collectively earned more than $1 million -- hit the board. Each was either outrun, couldn't handle the track or is ready for life on Kentucky breeding farms.

When no one wanted the lead, Turner seized the moment and opened up on the other eight horses.

"When it rains and this track is muddy, like it was today," Turner said, "it gets tight and speed holds up. The inside was good and when we got to the front, I just let her go."

At the eighth pole, Turner looked back after running the first six furlongs in 1 minute, 10 2/5 seconds.

"I thought, where's all of those good California horses?" he asked.

No one mounted a serious challenge, and Moon Mist, at 10-1 odds, coasted to a 4 1/4 -length win over Ritchie Trail, a 26-1 shot, who was second, and third-place finisher, Femma, a 21-1 shot.

Moon Mist paid $22.60 to win. Moon Mist was clocked in the seven furlongs in 1:23 2/5, considered a good time on a wet track.

"I never hit her with the stick, although I showed it to her a couple of times to keep her from lugging into the rail," Turner said.

The filly earned $120,000 and became the first graded stakes winner for her trainer. Lawrence, 45, regularly trains on the Woodbine-Greenwood Park circuit near Toronto.

He came south with Moon Mist in December with the Barbara Fritchie in mind. But he also had some cheap horses and stopped off at Penn National, near Harrisburg, for a couple of weeks. He not only won there with Moon Mist, but also some of his other runners. He then moved into Laurel about a month ago.

The filly's owner is 60-year-old John Campitelli, who owns a large trucking firm in Toronto and is distantly related to Baltimore trainer, Frannie Campitelli.

He claimed Moon Mist for $47,500 early in her third year. Even though she won a graded stakes for him in Canada, Campitelli had a dispute with his former trainer and turned her over just a couple of months ago to Lawrence.

"What really turned the filly around was an operation on her palate, performed at the University of Pennsylvania last fall," Campitelli said.

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