12 September 2008

Presque Isle Masters Stakes

I know, I know ... it's Big Brown and lip-sticked pigs everywhere in the blogosphere right now, but there are a few other things going on Saturday: Belmont hosts the Gazelle and the Matron, Arlington brings us the babies in the Arlington-Washington Futurity, and Kentucky Downs offers the 12-furlong Kentucky Cup Turf.

But here in Western Pennsylvania, a nice little race has shaped up in the Presque Isle Masters Stakes. The race, designed to serve as a prep for the Breeder's Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, has attracted some graded stakes winners with its $400,000 purse, and I wouldn't be surprised if the winner shows up at Santa Anita on that silly "Filly Friday" card. (Last year, four of the runners from the Masters ran in the BC Filly & Mare Sprint.)

Miss Macy Sue and Wild Gams -- who finished 1-2 last year -- are back, with Miss Macy Sue the morning line favorite at 5-2. This year, G-1 winner Dream Rush joins the field, and will be ridden by Dale Beckner, who won six races at Presque Isle last Saturday. Rex Stokes, former rider of Lady Grace and current leader of the PID jockey standings, has the mount on longshot Scalinatella. Other entrants include Hadavision, Ride Em Cowgirl, Dublin Duchess, Miss Blue Tye Dye, Artemis Priss, Dhanyata, Oelectra and Jazzy. The only free past performances I could find for the race are those the track posted for all of the nominees: 15 pages in alphabetical order!

If last year is any guide, I expect that the track will be quite crowded, and that the usually pleasant experience of visiting Presque Isle Downs will be a bit painful. (I've discussed the poorly designed traffic patterns and lack of seating here before.) Still, some of you may want to stop by and pick up one of the free T-shirts that will be given away to the first 500 through the gates at 4:30. Be warned: the forecast for Saturday is cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms, and there'll be little cover from the elements for those who haven't already made reservations. The upstairs dining room -- now smoke-free due to Pennsylvania's Clean Indoor Air Act -- has been sold out for a while, so in the event of rain, I wouldn't advice heading for the stairs unless you want to watch the race on the big-screen tv. If you get there early, you might be able to grab a table on the covered patio, but last year nearly all of these were reserved, so don't count on it. (Even then, expect your view to be obscured by the crowd.)

Best bet: take an umbrella. Value wager: Stay at home and watch 8yo Silverfoot take on the Kentucky Cup Turf.


Anonymous said...

Your guru, Lauren Stitch, is a regular guest on Steve Byk's Sirus radio program (4-7pm M-F).

Thought that you might be interested, if you had already tracked her down.


JOHN said...

Great advice with yesterday's "Value Wager." Staying at home and placing a small wager on SILVERFOOT would have turned a profit after subtracting the expenses involved in driving to Erie.

Just kidding - wanted to test my just discovered google ID.


QQ said...

John, not so sure the advice was all that good since Silverfoot was never really a factor in the race ... still what a great race between Wild Gams, Miss Macy Sue & Dream Rush! Hope you're enjoying that shiny new google ID!