05/14/2014 1:48PM

Winning Image seeks 14th win in Skipat Stakes

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
The 7-year-old mare Winning Image was supposed to be retired in February, but plans changed and she looks for her third straight win of 2014 in the Skipat.

BALTIMORE – First she was going to be retired. Then she was going to be sold. Circumstances scuttled both plans, so Winning Image has remained in training and simply continues to do, as her name suggests, what she does best: win.

Friday, the 7-year-old Winning Image will seek her third win in as many starts this year and the 14th of her career when she runs in the $100,000 Skipat Stakes at Pimlico. The Skipat, run at six furlongs, drew a field of nine when originally drawn on Sunday, but far fewer than that are expected to run. Trainer Barclay Tagg said Munnings Sister is likely to scratch to have more time between races. Risky Rachel will scratch if the track comes up wet, which is highly likely given the forecast. Five Star Momma and Merry Meadow are cross-entered for Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Vagrancy at Belmont Park.

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The expected defections of Five Star Momma and Munnings Sister would leave Winning Image as the speed of the race. And as trainer Michael Aro put, “If the water’s running fine, I don’t try to fix it.”

Winning Image, a daughter of Southern Image, was going to be retired and sold following the Barbara Fritchie Stakes in February. But a quarantine placed on the backstretch at Parx, where Winning Image is stabled, forced her to scratch from the Fritchie and scuttled the sale.

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“She’s made to stay with us,” said Aro, who trains Winning Image for Martin Scafidi.

Despite having run 27 times, Winning Image has never raced over a wet track.

“I think she’ll handle anything,” Aro said. “She’s one of those kind.”

The 62-year-old jockey Tony Black, who is semi-retired, will ride Winning Image from the outside post under high weight of 124 pounds.

Winning Image is coming off a win in the Primonetta Stakes here on April 19. She will face Red’s Round Table and She’s Ordained, third and fourth, respectively, in the Primonetta, as well as Lion D N A and Flattering Bea.