05/17/2006 12:00AM

Shorter is better for Wildcat Bettie B


BALTIMORE - Larry Jones kind of likes it over this way. Jones got the richest victory of his career last summer when Island Sand won the $1 million Delaware Handicap just a little north of here on Interstate 95, and now the veteran trainer is back in the Mid-Atlantic region to soak in the Preakness festivities at Pimlico.

While he's here, Jones will run several of his stable stars on the Preakness eve card, including Wildcat Bettie B in the Grade 3, $125,000 Miss Preakness Stakes. Jones also is represented by Josh's Madelyn in the Allaire duPont and Gasia in the Black-Eyed Susan.

is one of seven 3-year-old fillies in the Miss Preakness, which goes as the eighth of 13 Friday races. In her last start, Wildcat Bettie B finished a creditable third behind Diplomat Lady in the Grade 2 Beaumont Stakes, which is run at seven furlongs and 184 feet at Keeneland.

"We know the six furlongs of this race is going to suit her better than the distance of her last race," Jones said early Wednesday, minutes after Wildcat Bettie B had her first tour of the Pimlico surface. "We were kind of pushing her to an extreme at Keeneland, but I still felt like she ran extremely well, and she got beat by a really nice filly."

The Jones horses shipped Tuesday from Delaware, where Jones, a longtime fixture in the Midwest, will have a string this summer. Wildcat Bettie B "seemed like she really got over the track real well," said Jones. "We're hoping for good things Friday."

Among the fillies to beat in the Miss Preakness are , the local standout who opened her career with six wins before losing her last two starts.

The rest of the lineup is Ardmore Prospect, Miss Lina, and My Lucky Free.