BALTIMORE -- A race featuring a Grade 1 stakes winner looking to regain her best form, two entrants who are regrouping after disappointing in graded stakes company, and two who each have lost once but have crossed the wire first every time they've finished are among those in a competitive, compelling edition of the Grade 3, $150,000 Miss Preakness Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on Friday at Pimlico.
The Miss Preakness drew 15, including one also-eligible. There is no clear-cut favorite, making this one of the best gambling races on the 14-race card.
Pretty City Dancer, who dead-heated for first in the Grade 1 Spinaway last summer, is seeking to end a four-race losing streak as she returns to a six-furlong race for the first time since winning the Debutante at Churchill Downs last July.
"We think it'll make a big, big difference cutting back to six furlongs," Norm Casse, the assistant trainer of Pretty City Dancer, said Wednesday at Pimlico.
Todd Pletcher sends out Bode's Dream and Nonna Bella, both of whom finished out of the money in Grade 2 stakes at Gulfstream Park last time out. Bode's Dream, who won her first three starts, has not raced since finishing last of nine in the Forward Gal on Feb. 4.
"She's a little bit one-dimensional," Pletcher said Wednesday. "She wants to go early. She didn't break well last time, and then she ducked in at the gap, and it went all messy from there."
Nonna Bella won her debut later on that Feb. 4 card, then won an allowance race, then was fourth in the Gulfstream Park Oaks going 1 1/16 miles on April 1.
"I think we crammed a little too much close together," Pletcher said. "We ran her back a little too soon in the Gulfstream Park Oaks."
The field also includes the promising Our Majesty, who has crossed the wire first in all three of her races; Puerto Rican invader Too Much Tip, whose only loss in seven starts came when she lost the rider at the start; and Who's the Lady, making her graded stakes debut after winning all four of her starts, all in Florida.
Pretty City Dancer, by Tapit
Last 3 Beyers: 78-63-67
Returning two weeks after finishing fifth in the Eight Belles at Churchill Downs, she drew an outside post and should have plenty of pace to rally into.
Bode's Dream, by Bodemeister
Last 3 Beyers: 40-80-78
Pletcher said the three-month break has been beneficial. "She's training very well," he said.
Nonna Bella, by Stay Thirsty
Last 3 Beyers: 79-79-83
This will be the shortest distance at which she has competed. "We're trying to identify her best distance," Pletcher said of a filly by a Travers winner and who is a half-sister to a Wood Memorial winner (Outwork).
Our Majesty, by Majesticperfection
Last 3 Beyers: 88-82-82
She would be unbeaten in three starts if not for a controversial disqualification in the Purple Mountain at Oaklawn.
Too Much Tip, by Too Much Bling
Her form in Puerto Rico is difficult to gauge, but she has turned in a series of fast works at Palm Meadows and Keeneland for this.
Who's the Lady, by Munnings
Last 3 Beyers: 78-66-80
This is her toughest test yet, but she's yet to be beaten.