Forest Music Takes Miss Preakness

Returning to the races for the first time since December, Forest Music got a head in front of Stephan's Angel at the wire in the May 14 $100,000 The Adena Stallions' Miss Preakness Stakes (gr. III) at Pimlico Race Course. Fall Fashion was 4 1/4 lengths back for third.

The daughter of Unbridled's Song completed the six-furlong distance in 1:10.97. Forest Music returned $19.80, $11.20, and $10.20. Stephen's Angel paid $8.40 and $6.60, with Fall Fashion returning $15.20. The exacta paid $133.20, with the trifecta paying $2,325.60.

Ramon Dominguez rode Forset Music to victory. It was the fourth win on the Pimlico card for Dominguez.

Forest Music is owned by Michael Gill and conditioned by Mark Shuman. She was last of 14 in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) in October after breaking her maiden by 8 1/2 lengths in her debut at Laurel Park less than three weeks before. She lost two more starts at 2 at Aqueduct.

"We definitely mismanaged her last year to get her to the Breeders' Cup," Shuman admitted. "Fortunately we didn't hurt her. Her natural ability is just amazing. I really didn't think she was ready for this, but the owner (Michael Gill) wanted to go. I hoped to wait a month to start her again."

The race was marred by an accident at the top of the stretch when Perilous Night and Among My Souvenirs clipped heels at the top of the stretch unseating riders Jozbin Santana and Mario Pino. Both Santana and Pino walked off the track. Perilous Night completed the race without his rider and Among My Souvenirs was vanned off the track after suffering a severe dislocation of her right front ankle.

"She warmed up great," said Pino, who rode Among the Souvenirs, who was undfeated in three career tries. "She was starting to make her move. But she took a bad step and kept on going. It's too bad."

Despite being bumped leaving the starting gate, Forest Music stalked the pace set by Preach It and A Case of Class. The winner swung wide in the upper stretch, and opened a clear lead nearing the sixteenth pole before drifting out late.

"They asked me to have her placed forward," Dominguez said. "But I actually found myself behind them a little bit.

"She rated real nicely. Turning for home I was looking for a hole and decided just to swing her wide and try and force my way through. She did great in the lane, just floated away. It was a blessing, actually that the speed got away from us early."

The John Servis-trained Stephan's Angel rallied impressively after falling well behind early.

"She had the inside post and she didn't like the dirt being kicked in her face," jockey Stewart Elliott said. "I knew I could run at the end and she came flying once we got out, but she got a little too far back trying to avoid the dirt. We just missed."

Shadwell Stable's Areek, favored at 8-5, never fired and finished sixth.

"I didn't have a bad trip, but she wasn't used to getting dirt kicked in her face," jockey Jerry Bailey said. "I knew I'd have to come from behind on this track today because it is truly the deepest I've ever seen it here."

(Chart, Equibase)