Pretty City Dancer (Tapit) and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.
On a weekend populated by terrific fields, there might not be a better betting race than Friday’s $ 150,000 Adena Springs Miss Preakness (G3), which drew an overflow field of 15 3-year-old fillies running six furlongs.
The 32nd running of the Miss Preakness is one of seven stakes and goes off as the ninth (post time 3:55 p.m.) on the 14-race Black-Eyed Susan card. First post is 11:30 a.m.
Pretty City Dancer won Churchill Downs Debutante and Saratoga’s Spinaway (G1) in a dead heat last summer but winless in four races since, including a second in Churchill Downs’ Eight Belles (G2) at seven furlongs on the Kentucky Oaks (G1) undercard.
“She’s been a little bit of a disappointment,” said Norman Casse, who runs the Churchill operation for his dad, trainer Mark Casse. “She worked really well all spring, kind of a head-scratcher why she hasn’t been running better. Now we’re going to cut her back; we think maybe that could be part of it. This is a perfect opportunity.”
The Miss Preakness attracted fillies from all over the country, including undefeated Who’s the Lady, 4-for-4 and making her first start outside Florida. She’s likely to battle for the lead with Astrollinthepark, winner of three straight after finishing second in her debut.
Our Majesty has finished first in all three starts, albeit disqualified to fourth in Oaklawn’s $ 150,000 Purple Martin. She easily won a Keeneland allowance race in her next start and now tries to become a stakes-winner for keeps.
“We haven’t told her that she didn’t win,” trainer Ron Moquett said.
Our Majesty gets a do-over in the Miss Preakness against Vertical Oak, the filly she was deemed to have impeded in the Purple Mountain. Vertical Oak was a romping winner of small stakes at Prairie Meadows in her next start.
“Fast filly, tries hard,” Scott Blasi, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen, said of Vertical Oaks. “Ran well at Oaklawn, got in some trouble in her last race. She’s doing great.”
Kentucky Derby (G1)-winning trainer Todd Pletcher entered Nonna Bella, fourth in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), and two-time stakes-winner Bode’s Dream, who tired to ninth in Gulfstream’s Forward Gal (G2).
R Angel Katelyn will try to run her record to 6-1-1 from eight starts. The Maryland-bred Crabcakes brings a mark of three wins and two seconds in five starts.
Too Much Tip’s only defeat in seven starts in Puerto Rico came when she unseated her jockey. Others in the field include Deer Valley, My Miss Chiff, Stormy Embrace and Discreet Deceit. Shacklefords Lady, who is three-for-three, needs a defection to get in the race.
Multiple graded-stakes winner Terra Promessa looms as the horse to beat in the $ 150,000 Allaire DuPont Distaff (G3) for older fillies and mares. The 1 1/8-mile stakes is the fifth race Friday.
Stonestreet Stable’s 4-year-old Terra Promessa was a game second last time out in Oaklawn Park’s Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) won by champion Stellar Wind. A daughter of Stonestreet’s 2007 Preakness winner and two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, Terra Promessa is 6-1-1 in 11 lifetime starts, earning $ 746,100. Until finishing fifth as the odds-on favorite in the Azeri (G2), Terra Promessa had been five-for-five at Oaklawn, including two stakes at 3 and two to kick off her 2017 season.
“It’s five weeks from the Apple Blossom to the Distaff,” Blasi said. “She’s nice. She was second to a champion and ran hard that day. This gave her plenty of time to recover. Stonestreet took her home for a week, let her have some green grass and relax. She doesn’t take a lot of training, so hopefully she repeats those Oaklawn efforts at Pimlico.”
The Joe Sharp-trained Power of Snunner was a close second in Keeneland’s Doubledogdare (G3) in her last start. She has seven wins and 15 seconds in 27 career starts, including nine runner-up efforts in stakes.
Phipps Stable’s Carrumba, last year’s Top Flight (G3) winner at Aqueduct, will try to improve on her fifth and fourth in New York stakes in her two starts this year.
Also in the DuPont’s field of eight fillies and mares are 2017 Top Flight Invitational (G3) winner Mo’ Green; She’s a Warrior, seventh in last year’s Black-Eyed Susan (G2) after finishing third in the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) won by champion Songbird; She’s a True Beauty and Serious Happiness.
The Allaire DuPont winners include 3-year-old filly champions Serena’s Song and Ajina, as well as Stopchargingmaria, who won the stakes in 2015 en route to taking the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).
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