11/20/2010 2:00PM

Amazed by Grace continues comeback

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Barbara Weidl/EQUI-PHOTO
Amazed by Grace, winning last year's Cornucopia, makes her second start following a knee injury in Tuesday's $75,000 Cornucopia.

Exactly a year ago, Amazed by Grace solidified her status as the best 3-year-old filly in Pennsylvania by winning her fifth consecutive race in the $75,000 Cornucopia Stakes. She looked headed for even bigger and better things by leading for the first six furlongs of the seven-furlong La Brea Stakes on opening day at Santa Anita before weakening slightly to finish third in that Grade 1.

Unfortunately for Amazed by Grace and her owners, West Point Thoroughbreds, she emerged from that race with a knee injury that kept her on the sidelines for nearly 10 months.

After an unimpressive comeback race five weeks ago at Monmouth Park, Amazed by Grace tries to regain her form when she returns to defend her title in Tuesday’s Cornucopia, a six-furlong overnight stakes for fillies and mares at Parx Racing.

Honored by the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horseman’s Association as the state’s top 3-year-old filly in 2009, Amazed by Grace flashed brief speed in her comeback race, the College of New Jersey Stakes, before stopping badly to finish last of seven, beaten nearly 19 lengths. Since then, she has worked three consecutive five-furlong bullets at her home track for trainer Lupe Preciado.

Preciado’s record with female sprinters making their second start off a layoff is 5 for 31 (16 percent) the last two years, including a maiden win by Amazed by Grace at Charles Town in September 2009.

Amazed by Grace, 3 for 4 locally, will have to deal once again with D’wild Ride, a 5-year-old mare who finished 15 lengths ahead of her in the College of New Jersey. The horse who finished a neck behind third-place finisher D’wild Ride, Simplify, returned to take an optional claimer at Churchill Downs with an 89 Beyer Speed Figure.

The last time she raced at Parx, D’wild Ride got up by a head in an allowance race worth $110,000 on Sept. 18. New York-based rider Mike Luzzi, who was aboard for that win, comes in for the mount. He is 2 for 5 at Parx this season.

Of the remaining four runners in the Cornucopia field, the most dangerous looks like the 5-year-old From Gray to Gold, whose 11-for-32 career record includes 4 wins in 8 starts locally. A four-time winner this year, From Gray to Gold has had a month off since finishing second in a $12,500 starter allowance going 6 1/2 furlongs.