Friel's for Real comes with attitude, leaves with win

Mare has energy to burn, taking handicap by 5 1/2

Horse Racing

February 27, 2005|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

Friel's for Real woke up frisky yesterday, and she brought her aggression to Laurel Park for the $50,000 Maryland Racing Media Handicap.

About 4 a.m. yesterday at Philadelphia Park, as she was being walked around her barn before being loaded onto a van, she reared up and lashed out at her handler with her front feet. That made her trainer, Ned Allard, smile.

"She's a tough gal," said Allard, 58, who has trained at Philadelphia Park for six years. "She's got a little man in her."

After a two-hour van ride to Laurel, the 5-year-old mare manhandled her six competitors in the 1 1/8 -mile handicap for fillies and mares. At 4-5 odds, Friel's for Real galloped home 5 1/2 lengths in front of runner-up Pour It On. The winner could have won by more, but her jockey, Abel Castellano Jr., geared her down for her final strides.

"Today's as good an effort as we've had out of her," Allard said.

A daughter of the stallion Sword Dance and the mare Beaties for Real, Friel's for Real has won 10 of 18 races and finished in the top three 15 times. She's almost starting to remind Allard of the best horse he has ever trained, Mom's Command, champion 3-year-old filly in 1985.

Mom's Command swept the filly Triple Crown that year and, in 16 races over two seasons, won 11 stakes, including five Grade I's.

Friel's for Real delivered a lesson in how to win if you're much the best: Secure a comfortable spot along the rail, track the leader down the backstretch, attack around the final turn and pull away down the homestretch.

"I had plenty of horse," Castellano said. "She did everything by herself."

Trained by Hamilton Smith at Laurel, Pour It On charged from far back to nip Summer Rainbow, trained by H. Graham Motion, for second. Star of Anziyan, after setting the pace, faded to fourth.

Friel's for Real paid $3.60 to win. She topped a $10.20 exacta, $23.80 trifecta and $60 superfecta. She stopped the clock in 1 minute, 52.81 seconds for the nine furlongs.

Allard had also entered Friel's for Real in yesterday's Rare Treat Handicap at Aqueduct. But he said his intention all along was to run her at Laurel, where, he said, although the purse was less, she would like the track better, and the competition would be easier.

Making her first start for New Hampshire owner Michael Gill, the 6-year-mare Phillies Dream broke her right front ankle in the homestretch while running fifth behind Friel's for Real. She did not fall. Her jockey, Eric Rodriguez, quickly pulled her up and cradled her broken ankle.

Dr. David G. Zipf, the track veterinarian, applied a splint to the injured leg. He said Phillies Dream's prognosis is uncertain. A daughter of El Prado, she has won 12 of 30 starts and finished in the top three 22 times.

NOTES: Fran Raffetto, who works in the racing office at Laurel, presented Rachael and Chris Grove a check for $120,000 on behalf of their son, Noah. Led by Raffetto, the racing industry raised the money for Noah, 5, who lost his left leg to cancer. Chris Grove is a trainer at Bowie. The check was cut Monday, and since then another $10,000 has been donated to the boy who will need numerous prostheses as he grows.

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