05/16/2006 11:00PM

Trombetta has local favorite

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Jim McCue / Maryland Jockey Club
Princess Pelona, winning the Snow Goose, takes on eight fillies and mares in Friday's duPont.

BALTIMORE - Unlike Kentucky Derby eve, which is known to the locals as "Louisville's Day at the Races," the Friday before the Preakness has never been called "Baltimore's Day at the Races."

For trainer Mike Trombetta, who was born and raised in Baltimore County, that's too bad. The afternoon before he experiences one of the highlights of his 21-year training career by running Sweetnorthernsaint in the 131st Preakness, Trombetta will try to win one for the home team with Princess Pelona in the Grade 3, $200,000 Allaire duPont Breeders' Cup Stakes, the 10th race Friday at Pimlico Race Course.

Trombetta has an obvious fondness for , and for good reason. A 6-year-old El Prado mare, she has won 10 times and earned more than $350,000 for Trombetta and owner Pope McLean.

"She's a good girl," said Trombetta. "Obviously we're chasing some graded types in here, but she's doing good, she likes Pimlico, and she's in great form."

Princess Pelona, with Jose Caraballo to ride, drew post 6 in a field of nine fillies and mares entered in the duPont, a 1 1/16-mile race that before this year was called the Pimlico Distaff. Princess Pelona figures to be among the first flight in a race that appeared to draw a surplus of speed, including Dance Fee, Plata, and Pool Land, but Trombetta said he is confident Princess Pelona will rate if needed. In her last start, a victory in an April 23 overnight stakes at Delaware Park, "she took back off the speed and came running," Trombetta said. "I was pretty impressed with that."

, a 12-length winner of the Doubledogdare Stakes at Keeneland in her last start, looks like she will take plenty of action in the duPont, especially considering she represents the powerhouse team of trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey Garrett Gomez.

is a Grade 1 winner and the richest earner in the field, having banked more than $700,000 for owner Live Oak Plantation and trainer Nick Zito. She has been dull in all three starts this year, however, most recently finishing a distant fourth to another Pletcher trainee, Oonagh Maccool, two Fridays ago in the Louisville BC at Churchill Downs.

Silmaril, based at Bowie with trainer Chris Grove, is the defending champion in this race but has gone winless in four starts since then.

The rest of the field is Friel's for Real, Promenade Girl, and Josh's Madelyn.