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Nicole H returns on short rest in Fritchie

Though Mike Hushion isn’t normally one to run his horses back on short rest, the veteran trainer sounds almost giddy about running Nicole H in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Laurel Park just two weeks after her last start.


“This is one case where I’m really loving it,” Hushion said Thursday morning outside his Belmont Park barn. “You see her out there, you see how big and round she’s getting. Two weeks and a nice half-mile work to go seven-eighths, I really like it.”


Perhaps it’s simply the Barbara Fritchie that Hushion really likes. Hushion has won two of the last four runnings of this race – in 2008 with Golden Dawn and last year with Harissa – and is taking two shots at winning another. In addition to Nicole H, Hushion will also send out the New York-bred Lovely Lil.


The Barbara Fritchie tops a nine-race Laurel card that also includes the $100,000 John B. Campbell Stakes for older males at 1 1/8 miles. Also Saturday, Laurel will pay homage to Rapid Redux, the sprinter who strung together 22 consecutive, including a perfect 19 for 19 campaign in 2011. A ceremony honoring the connections will take place after the third.

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