03/23/2013 1:53PM

Parx Racing: Langhorne Stakes has two sets of uncoupled stablemates

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Winning Image, shown winning the Willa On The Move in December at Laurel, will attempt to fire fresh and take the Langhorne for the second time..

Trainers Michael Aro and Lupe Preciado literally have the opposition outnumbered in Tuesday’s $75,000 Langhorne Stakes for fillies and mares. Aro and Preciado have four of the six starters in the 6 1/2-furlong overnight stakes, including defending champion Winning Image.

But due to different ownership, both sets of stablemates will race uncoupled, leaving bettors to ponder which horse has the best chance of winning the featured eighth race.

In addition to a front-running victory by a half-length in the 2012 Langhorne, Winning Image captured the $150,000 My Juliet and the $100,000 Willa On the Move at Laurel Park last season. But she will be launching her 6-year-old campaign following a break of more than three months.

Statistically, Aro is just 1 for 15 with female sprinters back following a break of 61 to 180 days. That sample includes a close second by Winning Image in the $100,000 Endine at Delaware Park. She was also off nearly two months before taking the My Juliet last May.

Aro’s second entrant, Ms. Cruisen’, takes a distinct class drop out of the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie Handicap. Her last three starts over the main track at Parx have produced two wins, including the Cornucopia in November, and a close second.

Preciado is taking two shots with the extremely sharp Irish Exchange and the long-absent Pennsylvania-bred stakes winner Darn That Raven.

The 4-year-old Irish Exchange will make her stakes debut after posting back-to-back allowance wins at Laurel. Formerly trained by Larry Jones and Al Stall, Irish Exchange shows a bullet five-furlong work for her first start since Feb. 13.

Female last-out winners given a 31-to-60-day break before returning in a sprint click at 22 percent (4 for 18) for Preciado.

The 5-year-old Darn That Raven, winner of the seven-furlong Foxy J.G. last April, owns a 4-for-8 record at Parx. But she is unraced since July and Preciado’s record with female sprinters returning from a break of more than 180 days is only 2 for 14.

Los Ojitos merits respect shipping in from New York for trainer Nick Canani. Los Ojitos’s 3-for-9 record includes a pair of dominant victories going seven furlongs last season, beating maidens at Saratoga and first-level allowance runners at Laurel. She has been freshened since winning a second-level optional $62,500 claimer at Aqueduct in mid-January.

Last-out female sprinters given a rest of 61 to 180 days perform well for Canani. He is 5 for 14 (36 percent) in that category.