05/12/2010 12:00AM

For Argent Affair, another surface to conquer


BALTIMORE - With wins at four different tracks, Argent Affair has yet to meet a surface she hasn't liked. Trainer Michael Pino hopes that trend continues when Argent Affair makes her Pimlico debut in Friday's $70,000 Miss Preakness Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs on dirt.

Argent Affair, a Virginia-bred daughter of Black Tie Affair owned by David Ross, has won at Colonial Downs, Philadelphia Park, Charles Town, and Woodbine. On April 10, Argent Affair won a seven-furlong allowance race over Woodbine's synthetic surface from a stalking position. Argent Affair's speed figures aren't inspiring, but Pino believes that's because she is still immature.

"Her numbers could be better, but she loafs a little bit in a race; the rider needs to keep her attention," Pino said. "She's the kind of horse that tends to rise to the occasion."

Pino loves the fact Argent Affair has drawn the outside post in a field that has scratched down to six horses with the defection of Starlite Starbrite. Javier Castellano rides Argent Affair.

Cuff Me, trained by Tony Dutrow, is 4 for 4 in New York but finished fourth in a pair of graded stakes in Florida. Dutrow said Cuff Me had trained well at Palm Meadows during the winter, and is uncertain why she ran poorly in both the Old Hat at Gulfstream and Florida Oaks at Tampa.

"I am leery of running her at Pimlico because I don't know what she'll do," Dutrow said. "I have no opportunity to run her in New York, that's why we're in the Miss Preakness. The filly is doing well. If she likes the racetrack I would expect her to run well."

Cuff Me breaks from post 3 under Ramon Dominguez.

High Five Gal is the perennial bridesmaid with seven runner-up finishes from 12 starts. She is likely to keep Cuff Me company on the front end.

For Royalty won the first two starts of her career, but went winless in her last three starts, all last year at 2. She makes her 3-year-old debut for trainer Mike Maker, who has tabbed Julien Leparoux to ride.

Imanheiress, High Give Gal, and Vindy City complete the field.