01/27/2010 12:00AM

Celtic Princess preps for stakes


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - When trainer Eduardo Caramori ran the two-time South American Grade 1 winner Celtic Princess in a Turfway Park stakes off a two-year layoff in early December, the purpose was to determine if she would remain in training or be bred in 2010.

But when Celtic Princess makes her local debut in Thursday's $56,000 fourth-level allowance with a $100,000 claiming option it will be for one purpose only - to kick off what Caramori and owner Jessica Coudelaria hope will be a successful and possibly stakes-winning campaign for the 6-year-old Brazilian-bred mare. The race will be contested at one mile on turf.

Celtic Princess returned from her long exile to finish second, beaten a neck in the final strides of the My Charmer.

"We're still crying over her first start," Caramori said. "We thought she had the race won, but she just got a little tired after having been away so long."

Caramori said Celtic Princess was originally sent to him to be bred, but after giving the mare "one last recheck" he and his owner decided to give racing one last try.

"She was a really nice filly two years ago with plenty of back class, so we thought we'd give her another chance and she told us 'Okay, I still want to run,' " Caramori said. "That race was basically an experiment, not a prep for this one Thursday. Now, we've got to get her started on a regular campaign, so her first race here will be a prep for her next start, which will be the mile and three-eighths stakes next month."

Caramori was referring to the Grade 3 The Very One on Feb. 28.

Celtic Princess will face six rivals Thursday, including another South American Group 1 winner, Savoir Bien, who will be making just her third start in the United States. Savoir Bien won three Group 1 races in her native Argentina before coming to North America and Bobby Frankel in 2009. She is currently trained by Christophe Clement who sent her out to a fourth-place allowance finish at Tampa on Jan. 3.

Maddy's Heart returns to the allowance ranks after finishing 13th and last in the Marshua's River 12 days earlier. The former stakes winner missed most of her 2009 campaign and will be making just her third start since October 2008.

Wasted Tears will try to carry her speed to victory while racing for the first time since winning a Grade 3 race over the Lone Star turf course last May. Wasted Tears will be trainer Bart Evans's first starter at the meet.