10/19/2006 12:00AM

Wildcat Bettie B back in Maryland

Email

Wildcat Bettie B, a winner of three consecutive graded stakes, returns to Maryland for the first time since she began her streak in May for Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Safely Kept Breeders' Cup at Laurel Park.

The six-furlong Safely Kept drew a field of eight 3-year-old fillies.

Based at Delaware Park with trainer Larry Jones, Wildcat Bettie B went wire to wire in the Grade 3 Miss Preakness at Pimlico on May 19, then came from far off the pace to capture the Grade 1 Prioress at Belmont Park in July and the Grade 3 Victory Ride at Saratoga in August.

Jockey Mario Pino, who has 5,796 victories but until the Prioress had never ridden a Grade 1 winner, is highly impressed by Wildcat Bettie B's physical attributes.

"She is a nice big filly," Pino said. "She really looks like a colt. She was even better in the last race and is really peaking at the right time."

Three of the fillies who have been chasing Wildcat Bettie B - Wild Gams, G City Gal, and Livermore Valley - are back for another crack at her.

Of that group, Wild Gams and G City Gal have come closest to upsetting Wildcat Bettie B.

In the Prioress, Wild Gams rallied alongside Wildcat Bettie B and fell a neck short at 18-1. Wild Gams, trained by Ben Perkins Jr., will be ridden for the first time by Ryan Fogelsonger.

Perkins said he will give this advice to the jockey: "I'll tell him that there is enough speed in the race that she should be stalking them, that she has a nice turn of foot, and that she will be gaining on them at the end."

G City Gal contested the pace and held a two-length lead at the stretch call of the Victory Ride, only to be overtaken by Wildcat Bettie B and finish a length behind. She was seven lengths behind Wildcat Bettie B in the Miss Preakness.

Livermore Valley came from 14 lengths behind to finish third, beaten 2 3/4 lengths, behind Wildcat Bettie B in the Prioress. She has won three of her last five starts, but has yet to prove she's good enough to win at the graded stakes level.

The interesting newcomer is Cajun Mistress, a front-runner who steps up in class after three consecutive wins. The last was a four-length score that was worth a 100 Beyer Speed Figure, just 2 points lower than Wildcat Bettie B was awarded for her most recent race.