02/01/2008 12:00AM

Twisted Tale returns in sprint after accident


NEW ORLEANS - Twisted Tale has written herself a strange story indeed. After a promising beginning, she nearly ended her racing career early in a freak accident.

She can write a new chapter when she returns to the track for Sunday's feature race, the eighth, a six-furlong first-level allowance for 3-year-old fillies on the main track, being run for a purse of $40,000.

After two promising races for the Steve Asmussen barn, including a victory in a maiden special weight at Saratoga, Twisted Tale injured herself.

"She got loose and ran into a manure pit," assistant trainer Scott Blasi said. "She split open part of her leg, and Dr. [Mark] Cheney did an amazing job of stitching it up."

Following the accident at Saratoga, she remained in the Asmussen barn, going with the outfit down to Churchill.

"We couldn't train her," Blasi said. "We were letting the cut heal."

A daughter of Tale of the Cat, Twisted Tale is a homebred of Ron Winchell and Thomas Van Meter.

Her first races went according to expectations, with a second-place finish in her debut as the favorite at Churchill Downs. She was made the favorite again in her second race, July 26 at Saratoga, and she put it all together, leading from the gate and hanging on to win the 5 1/2-furlong race by a neck.

Then came the accident and subsequent rehabilitation.

Twisted Tale has been training in Houston, preparing for her return to the races. Her works include a bullet five furlongs.

"She's been training forwardly and is extremely talented," Blasi said. "She has had a bit of an attitude problem, but she has been calming down."

She will break from post 2 and should be forwardly placed.

Royal Diana should also be prominent early. She was unable to hold on in her last race at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. She returns to the distance and surface of her maiden win. If she runs back to that race, she should be competitive.

If Royal Diana and Twisted Tale wear each other out, Holiday Cruise is the likely beneficiary.

Holiday Cruise was beaten a length at this level last time out and returns to the races after only two weeks off. She was easily the second best that day and could finish if a speed duel develops.