La Verdad's Next True Victory?

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Molly Jo Rosen

February 14th, 2014

While the East Coast dealt with a major snowstorm this week, the temperatures have warmed up and the snow is melting.  Racing returns to Laurel with two stakes races with the feature being the Grade 2, $300,000, Barbara Fritchie Handicap for fillies and mares going seven furlongs.

The morning line favorite is La Verdad from the Linda Rice barn.  The four year old New York bred has a lifetime record of five wins from six starts.  She has been the post time favorite in all of her career starts but she has never run more than six furlongs in her career.  She normally sets the pace but she will have company on the front end here.

A horse that can definitely put front end pressure on the favorite and win the race is Winning Image.  Ridden by 61 year old Tony Black, the Mike Aro trainee wired the field when she won the What a Summer Stakes last month.  If there is a suicidal speed duel then My Wandy's Girl can pick up the pieces and win the race.  She came off the pace to finish second as the favorite in this race last year.  She has not run in two months but Mike Hushion is an underrated trainer nationally and can get a horse to win a stakes off the layoff.

At Golden Gate three year olds will be in action in the Grade 3, $200,000, El Camino Real Derby.  The winner of the race will receive 10 Kentucky Derby points.  The morning line favorite is Enterprising.  The Tom Proctor trainee finish second as the favorite in the California Derby over this course last out.  Is regular jockey hall of fame rider Gary Stevens gets back on him today.  His main competition should be Tamarando, who is coming off a second place finish as the favorite in the Cal Cup Derby at Santa Anita.

At Santa Anita fillies and mares will run in the Grade 2, $200,000, Santa Maria Stakes.  Fiftyshadesofhay comes off a disappointing fourth in the Grade 2 La Canada Stakes.  She comes into this race with an excellent work and is reunited with Martin Garcia, who was aboard for her last victory at Prairie Meadows in June.  The main competition should come from the Jerry Hollendorfer trainee Let Faith Arise.  She just missed by a neck in the La Canada last out.

Turf runners will be going the distance in the Grade 2, $200,000, Mac Diarmida Stakes going 1 3/8 miles.  Twilight Eclipse returns to grass after wiring the field in the off the turf Grade 3 McKnight at Calder.  He finished fourth in this race last year and then came back to win the Grade 3 Pan American over this course.  An intriguing prospect in this race is Alpha.  The winner of the Grade 1 Travers as a three year old in 2012 and Grade 1 Woodward last year makes his grass debut.  His dirt form has been spotty lately but the switch to the grass might wake him up.

King Cotton Stakes was rescheduled after Oaklawn canceled racing last week.  Chris Hartman sends out the powerful entry of Black Bear and Alsvid.  Black Bear comes off a second place finish going shorter on January 19. Alsvid is working bullets for his first start since tiring in the Delta Mile on November 23.  He finished second in this race last year.