Updated on 09/16/2011 7:22AM

Talent runs deep in Miss Preakness


Trainer John Kimmel has an ambitious summer planned for A New Twist, targeting such Grade 1 races as the Prioress and the Test. First, Kimmel hopes to get through the spring on a high note when he sends out A New Twist in the $100,000 Miss Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.

The Miss Preakness, a six-furlong race running as a Grade 3 for the first time, is the first of 13 stakes to be run at Pimlico this week, highlighted, of course, by Saturday's 127th Preakness. A field of 10 was entered for the Miss Preakness, though trainer Shug McGaughey said he is likely to scratch Database.

The Miss Preakness came up tougher than Kimmel probably thought with the likes of Shameful, Vesta, and Night Breeze in the field. But, Kimmel's confidence in his filly is unwavering, buoyed by a sharp allowance win at Keeneland on April 19.

"I think this is a really good filly," Kimmel said. "She's not unlike her mother," Twist Afleet, a Grade 1 winner.

Earlier this year, A New Twist won the Old Hat Stakes, but finished a disappointing second at 2-5 in the Grade 3 Forward Gal.

"That was a combination of running the filly back too quick off a very good performance and I didn't like the way Edgar [Prado] tried to rate her," Kimmel said. "I think the filly got frustrated."

Pat Day rode A New Twist at Keeneland and will be back aboard Thursday from post 4.

"He has such a nice set of hands," Kimmel said. "She's a small filly; he sits on her very well. I think they're a nice match."

Bob Baffert runs Shameful back just two weeks after she was edged by Cashier's Dream in the Grade 3 La Troienne at Churchill. According to Baffert, Shameful was moving when the gates opened, causing her to get away slow. After rushing up to contest the pace, she was outfinished by Cashier's Dream as the two exchanged bumps in the stretch.

Baffert said he is running Shameful back this quick because "the race didn't take anything out of her." Victor Espinoza has the call.

Vesta, who twice finished behind A New Twist as a 2-year-old, got a feel for Pimlico when she romped to a six-length victory in the Smart Halo Stakes on April 27. Mario Pino, this track's leading rider, has the return call.

Night Breeze is a three-time winner at Pimlico, including a victory in the Maryland Million Lassie last October. She makes her first start for trainer Frank Brothers after running last year for Graham Motion.

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