05/11/2004 11:00PM

Miss Preakness: 'Souvenirs' returns

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Among My Souvenirs, unbeaten in three starts, rates a slight edge in a competitive renewal of the Grade 3, $100,000 Miss Preakness Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs.

After winning her first three starts - including two stakes - Among My Souvenirs was scratched out of the Grade 3 Cicada at Aqueduct on March 20 the morning of the race because of a foot abscess. It took a while for the foot to heal, according to trainer Anthony Dutrow, but her last three works at Laurel Park indicate she is ready for the Miss Preakness.

"I think the last month she's been really close to perfect, and I'm really, really happy with the way she's coming into this race," said Dutrow, who is 10 for his last 30 with horses coming off a 61- to 180-day layoff. "I think I've been patient with her and waited till she was right, and she's right."

There appears to be plenty of speed in this field, topped by the return of Forest Music, who earned a dazzling 105 Beyer Speed Figure when she won her maiden last Oct. 8 at Laurel Park. She has not raced since Dec. 12. Preach It, Fall Fashion, and Ruthless Babe are also likely to show speed.

Forestier, trained by Todd Pletcher, was beaten only a head by Among My Souvenirs when they met in the Marshua Stakes at Laurel in January. Forestier is coming off a three-length allowance score at Aqueduct on March 13, when she earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 91.

"She seems like a filly that needs a little time between races," Pletcher said. "She broke through to another level in her last start."

Other contenders include Areek, who cuts back to six furlongs after winning a one-mile allowance race; Perilous Night, who has won two straight over this surface; and Stephan's Angel, who is 3 for 3 at six furlongs.