02/14/2007 12:00AM

Leah's Secret tops Fritchie

Email

Leah's Secret will be the starting 118-pound highweight Saturday in the $300,000 Barbara Fritchie Breeders' Cup Handicap, one of two Grade 2 races during the Presidents Day weekend at Laurel Park.

The Fritchie is the feature of a Saturday card that also includes the $115,000 John B. Campbell BC Handicap. The Grade 2, $300,000 General George BC Handicap on Monday will round out the stakes action at the Laurel, Md., track.

Leah's Secret captured the Nov. 25 Anne Arundel in her last start at Laurel, and has been based in recent weeks at Gulfstream Park in south Florida. Trained by Helen Pitts, a native and longtime resident of Maryland, Leah's Secret will be ridden by Mark Guidry, and will carry one more pound than Silmaril and Carmandia in a field of eight fillies and mares.

Silmaril, one of three locally based horses in the seven-furlong Fritchie, has won 7 of 12 starts at Laurel and had her final prerace workout Saturday at the Bowie training center.

"She is as ready as I can get her," said trainer Chris Grove.

From the rail, the Fritchie field is Oprah Winney, Silmaril, Dixie Marrone, Plata, Great Intentions, Smart and Fancy, Leah's Secret, and Carmandia.

The 1 1/8-mile Campbell drew a very competitive field of 12 older horses, with much of the betting apt to be split among Bank President, Silver Prospector, Naughty New Yorker, Reckless Ways, Capac, and Easy Red.

Both the Fritchie and Campbell will be part of the national Magna 5 wager Saturday.

Entries for the seven-furlong General George, which will be drawn on Friday, are expected to be led by Silver Wagon, a $3,000 supplemental entry. Silver Wagon, an earner of nearly $800,000, will be the 120-pound highweight in a field that's also expected to include Ah Day, Gold Cluster, Judiths Wild Rush, Mach Speed, and Ryan's for Real. Among possible starters are Bishop Court Hill and Will He Shine, according to Laurel stakes coordinator Wendy Pensivy.

One of the would-be contenders in the General George was Sweet-northernsaint, but trainer Mike Trombetta said he does not plan to enter the 4-year-old gelding. Trombetta is holding the option of scratching Your Bluffing from the Campbell and running him in the General George instead.

Wintry weather conditions in the Laurel area on Wednesday were severe enough that the card was canceled, but the forecast for the weekend was for milder conditions.