02/12/2014 3:02PM

Laurel Park: Winning Image will end career in Barbara Fritchie

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Eight-time stakes winner Winning Image will try to close out her career with her first graded victory in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie Handicap.

Winning Image, an eight-time listed stakes winner, will try to win her first graded race in what will be the final start of her career in Saturday’s Grade  2, $300,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Laurel Park.

Winning Image drew post 6 in a 10-horse field that includes the New York-bred La Verdad, a winner of five consecutive races; Centrique, winner of the Claiming Crown Glass Slipper two starts back; and My Wandy’s Girl, who finished second as the favorite in last year’s Barbara Fritchie.

The Barbara Fritchie, contested at seven furlongs, will go as race 9 on a 10-race program that begins at 12:35 p.m. and includes the $100,000 John B. Campbell Handicap for older males at 1 1/8 miles.

Winning Image, a 7-year-old daughter of Southern Image owned by Martin Scafidi and trained by Michael Aro, has run 26 times, winning 12 races, but she has never raced beyond 6 1/2 furlongs. Winning Image will be retired and bred later this year, though Aro did not know to whom.

“This is her last start. She’s going into the race okay. It’s now or never,” said Aro, when asked about Winning Image’s ability to get seven furlongs.

Winning Image is 2 for 2 at Laurel Park, winning the Willa On the Move Stakes in December 2012 and the What a Summer Stakes on Jan. 25, by 1 3/4 lengths.

“The other day she was more relaxed. She was kind of drawing off again down the stretch so I thought that was impressive,” Aro said.

Winning Image will be ridden by Tony Black at 117 pounds, the second highweight behind My Wandy’s Girl (119).

Winning Image is one of several horses in this race with plenty of early speed. La Verdad, who also has never raced at seven furlongs, is another. La Verdad drew post 6 and will be ridden by Jose Ortiz.

Centrique, trained by Marty Wolfson, enters the Barbara Fritchie off a pair of victories at Gulfstream Park, including the Claiming Crown Glass Slipper at the Fritchie distance of seven furlongs.

Edgard Zayas will ride Centrique from post 3. Centrique arrived from south Florida on Tuesday night.

My Wandy’s Girl, who had the rail in this race last year when she was beaten three-quarters of a length by Withgreatpleasure, will break from post 10 on Saturday under Rajiv Maragh. My Wandy’s Girl vanned to New York from south Florida on Monday and will van to Laurel on Saturday morning.

“I wasn’t thrilled with the rail for her last year,” trainer Mike Hushion said. “I’m better off with the 10 post.”

Also entered are Baragah, Villette, Sunlit City, Flattering Bea, Access to Charlie, and More Than a Cruise.

◗ Bold Curlin, winner of the Native Dancer Stakes, heads a field of seven entered in the John B. Campbell at 1 1/8 miles. Bold Curlin, trained by Michael Trombetta, drew post 3 in a field that includes Irsaal from the New York-barn of Kiaran McLaughlin.

Also entered are Managed Account, Concealed Identity, Wild Louis, Indian Jones, and Behemoth.

◗ Palace, at 120 pounds, will likely be the starting highweight for Monday’s Grade 2, $250,000 General George Handicap.

Others expected to be entered include defending General George winner Javerre (116), Broad Rule (115), Praetereo (113), Service for Ten (113), Smash and Grab (113), Well Spelled (113), Bandbox (112), and Tenango (112). Candyman  E (119), Arlo (115), and Adirondack King (114) are considered possible starters.