02/16/2011 4:32PM

Sweet Goodbye bids for repeat in Barbara Fritchie

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Sweet Goodbye scores the biggest victory of her career in last year's Barbara Fritchie.

 Though Sweet Goodbye will have a home-court advantage over a quartet of New York shippers, her connections will be relying simply on her talent when she seeks a repeat victory in Saturday’s Grade 2, $150,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Laurel Park.

“Her being her is more of an advantage than the racetrack,’’ trainer Christopher Grove said Wednesday.

Sweet Goodbye has won 10 of 17 starts. She is 5 for 8 at Laurel, including a narrow victory in last year’s Barbara Fritchie over New York shipper Pamona Ball in a 14-horse field. Saturday’s renewal of the seven-furlong sprint for fillies and mares drew a field of seven, with Sweet Goodbye breaking from the outside under J.D. Acosta.

Last year, Sweet Goodbye won the What a Summer Stakes prior to winning the Fritchie. Sweet Goodbye went to the sidelines on May 31 with “normal wear and tear’’ according to Grove. She returned to finish third in the What a Summer on Jan. 15 and has since followed that race with two works, including a bullet five-furlong move in 59.40 seconds at the Bowie training center last Saturday.

Sweet Goodbye, the 120-pound highweight, will have to deal with New York shippers Harissa, Kid Kate, Meese Rocks, and R Betty Graybull as well as local runners Aspenglow and Fascinatin’ Rhythm.

Harissa cuts back to a one-turn race for the first time since running third in her career debut at Del Mar in August 2009. In three starts since being transferred to Mike Hushion, Harissa has two wins and a third to Always a Princess in the Grade 2 Indiana Oaks. Ramon Dominguez returns to Maryland to ride Harissa from post 2 for John Waken’s Gem Inc. Stable.

Kid Kate came off a 10-week layoff to win the Correction at Aqueduct by a neck over Meese Rocks. The late-running R Betty Graybull has won three of her last four starts and should relish the long Laurel Park stretch.

The Barbara Fritchie will go as race 8 on a nine-race card that also includes the $75,000 John B. Campbell, a 1 1/8-mile race for males which drew a seven-horse field headed by New York shippers Arson Squad and Alma d’Oro.