02/13/2008 12:00AM

Tough task for Oprah Winney


Even the ever-confident Richard Dutrow Jr. is tempering his enthusiasm as his 5-year-old mare Oprah Winney attempts to score a repeat victory in Saturday's Grade 2, $300,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Laurel Park.

Oprah Winney went gate to wire to win this race last year by three-quarters of a length, but Dutrow believes this year's 10-horse field - headed by the Michael Trombetta-trained Control System - trumps the field Oprah Winney beat last year.

"She ran big in the race last year, but this race is coming up tougher," Dutrow said. "There wasn't much in the Fritchie last year. Trombetta's horse looks like she's solid."

Control System, a 4-year-old daughter of Lion Hearted, has won 5 of 7 career starts, including victories over Oprah Winney in both the Garland of Roses and Interborough handicaps over Aqueduct's inner track. Though based at Laurel, this will be Control System's first start over her home track. She will break from post 8 under Julien Pimentel and carry co-high weight of 120 pounds along with Oprah Winney, who breaks from post 9.

Six of the 10 fillies and mares entered in the seven-furlong Barbara Fritchie are based in New York, including Baby Bird, also trained by Dutrow, Golden Dawn, Devil House, Karakorum Starlet, and More Angels.

The Barbara Fritchie is the last race on a 10-race card and is also the first leg of the Magna 5 wager, which starts the day with a carryover of $265,310.

Nite Light heads John Campbell

Nite Light, a winner of three consecutive starts, heads a seven-horse field entered in Saturday's $95,000 John B. Campbell Handicap. Nite Light, trained by Todd Pletcher, breaks from post 7 under Mike Luzzi.

Nite Light won an allowance race at the Campbell distance of 1 1/8 miles in October, then won the Coyote Lakes at 1 1/2 miles by a neck and the Gallant Fox at 1 5/8 miles by 10 lengths, both in December.

Naughty New Yorker, a 6-year-old son of Quiet American trained by Pat Kelly, is coming off a victory in the Alex M. Robb Handicap for statebreds on Dec. 30 at Aqueduct. Naughty New Yorker is the Campbell starting highweight at 120 pounds.

Angliana, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, figures to be the second or third choice with Alan Garcia named. He is coming off a win in the Aqueduct Handicap on Jan. 19.

Ah Day to miss General George

Ah Day, the 4 3/4-length winner of last month's Fire Plug Stakes at Laurel, will be forced to miss Monday's Grade 2, $300,000 General George Handicap due to an injury to his right shoulder, trainer King Leatherbury said.

"The injury happened while he was in the stall," Leatherbury said. "This happens in horse racing. I can't explain it, and the vets don't know why but did tell me it will take three months to heal. He will be back."

With Ah Day out, the General George field could grow. As of Wednesday, definite starters included Bustin' Stones, Divine Park, Ravalo, Ryan's for Real, and Throng. Stormin' Normandy will be entered, Dutrow said. Those who may join the field include Leo, Lord Snowdon, and Premium Wine.