03/28/2007 11:00PM

Wildcat Bettie B returns at 4


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Wildcat Bettie B, whose goal this year is the new $1 million Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, will begin her 4-year-old season Saturday in the $50,000 Carousel at Oaklawn Park.

The six-furlong sprint drew eight fillies and mares, including stakes winners Morner, Miss Elsie, True Tails, and Country Diva, and the stakes-placed Miss Macy Sue.

But the class of the field is Wildcat Bettie B, who last year won the Grade 1 Prioress at Belmont. In her most recent start, she was second by three-quarters of a length in the Grade 3 Safely Kept at Laurel on Oct. 21.

"Since they had put up the Breeders' Cup sprint for the fillies this time, we felt like we didn't have to get in a hurry about getting her ready to go again because we planned on being around in October and November," said Larry Jones, who trains Wildcat Bettie B for Oasis Racing.

Wildcat Bettie B was set to make her seasonal debut in an allowance earlier in the meet, but that race did not fill and Jones decided to look to the Carousel. It will be her steppingstone to the Grade 3, $150,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap against males here on April 13.

"We expect her to run well, just because she normally does," he said. "She definitely is not tuned up 100 percent. She had one real good move a few weeks back; that was her major work. The last two, we've just gone out and let her stretch her legs a little.

"We kind of thought we had an allowance race for her earlier, and it didn't go, and we didn't want to work her hard again. We just kind of caught ourselves here with nothing else to do."

Wildcat Bettie B will break from post 8 under Terry Thompson.

"She'll probably lay a little closer than she laid her last couple of races," said Jones. "She generally is a forward factor."

Miss Macy Sue has worked seven consecutive bullets for the Carousel, which is also her first start since the Safely Kept. A front-runner, she never got close to the pace in that race and finished fifth.

"We had kind of a bad start," said Kelly Von Hemel, who trains Miss Macy Sue. "We got a little roughed up at the start, and didn't get the race or the trip that we wanted. But she's training great, and we're excited to get running here this year."

Eddie Razo Jr. has the mount on Miss Macy Sue from post 2.