Updated on 09/17/2011 10:55AM

Miss Linda returns

Suzie-Picou Oldham
Miss Linda, here winning the 2001 Spinster at Keeneland, has been sidelined since last summer.

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Miss Linda hits the comeback trail Wednesday afternoon at Monmouth Park.

A 6-year-old Argentine-bred mare, Miss Linda will be making her first start in almost a year in a $50,000 allowance race at one mile and 70 yards.

Miss Linda, winner of the Grade 1 Spinster Stakes at Keeneland in 2001, last competed in the Grade 1, $250,000 Go for Wand Handicap at Saratoga. She stumbled at the start and wound up fourth, the first in a series of mishaps that kept her on the sidelines.

She suffered a hind-ankle injury and later broke a bone in a knee when she became cast in her stall.

It has been a long, slow process to get Miss Linda back to the races for trainer John Kimmel.

"Hopefully all those things are behind us and she's returning to the form that made her a Grade 1 winner," Kimmel said. "The veterinarians felt there was no reason she could not return at a top level."

Kimmel was shopping for a comeback spot that would not be too taxing. He entered Miss Linda in an allowance race at Belmont Park that did not fill. He was pleasantly surprised to see the Monmouth race go.

"We were looking for a place to start back, and this looks like a good spot," Kimmel said.

Joe Bravo, the meet's leading rider, gets the call.

From a handicapping perspective, Miss Linda holds a huge class edge on her five rivals. The lengthy layoff, however, remains the key to solving this puzzle.

"Any horse that's been off, there's always a question as to how sharp you'll be," Kimmel said. "She is ready to run. We wanted a race that would help her get back without facing top stakes company. It looks like we got that Wednesday."

Kimmel hopes the Monmouth race provides a springboard to a pair of Grade 1 stakes at Saratoga: the $250,000 Go for Wand on July 27 and the $400,000 Personal Ensign on Aug. 22.

Among those lining up to face Miss Linda, who will likely be an odds-on favorite, A.P. Andie has the most extensive recent stakes experience against open company.

A.P. Andie joined the Jason Servis barn over the winter and won the Correction Handicap at Aqueduct in February. She ran competitively against some tough mares, but her most recent outing was dismal. A.P. Andie finished up the track in the West Long Branch Stakes on June 14 at Monmouth. That earned her a trip to a farm for a brief freshening at the suggestion of owner Bruce Garafolo.

"They tried it once before and she came back and ran well," Servis said. "They asked if I was okay with it, and I didn't have a problem."