Saturday, September 1, 2007
Selections for Opening Day at Presque Isle Downs
The picture above shows Scott Blasi's claimer extraordinare Golden Hare, currently in training at Presque Isle Downs.
I could only hunt down Bris PP’s for 4 of the 8 races on the inaugural Presque Isle Downs card, but I’ll take a stab at some of the other races as well:
Race 1 ($100,000 Inaugural Stakes):
What a way to start a new meet and a new racing surface! Coy Coyote (who drew the 5 post) has been scratched early so each horse to her outside moves in, thus change their post positions on the PP accordingly. That leaves a field of nine, with the only PA-bred, Scott Lake’s Cantrel, the morning line 8-5 favorite. However, she’s never run well at the stakes-level outside state-bred condition, so I’ll pass as the “homers” will probably bet her down anyways. Sentimentally, I’m looking at Miss A Bomb since I’m a sucker for Lemon Drop Kid progeny, but she also has good recommendations—she’s run 7 times on synthetic surfaces, with 2 wins, 2 seconds, and 2 thirds, and she’s 2 for 3 at this distance, with her only loss last out in the G3 Azalea on sloppy Calder dirt. She also gets a good jock in Miguel Mena who has shifted his tack from Ellis Park for the entire PID meet. Steve Asmussen’s Tres Dream has worked over this track, although her previous synthetic experiences at Keeneland were not promising. Flint Stites’ All Giving could be a big surprise here, coming off excellent turf showings this year at Pimlico and Colonial Downs—can she handle Tapeta? For my money, I like the lightly-race Steve Klesaris trainee Dicey Girl, with Mario Pino up. She comes in from Saratoga where she ran third to Featherbed and Allude in the Weekend Surprise Stakes, and this will be her second race off a layoff. I don’t expect her to go off anywhere near her 6-1 morning line, although that would be a bonus if she did. Rosemary Homeister, Jr. gets the call up.
Race 2 (2-year-old maiden fillies, 5.5 furlongs):
Did I mention before how much I love juvenile races? Steve Asmussen’s Appellate looks appealing, as she’s been working over synthetic surfaces since June—Keeneland, Arlington and now Presque Isle. Her dam sire Montbrook has had success with progeny running on synthetic tracks, so she may do well first out. Graham Motion’s Move Clickly finished third in her first try at Monmouth on August 2, and she trains on Tapeta at Fair Hill Training Center—big advantage? She’s also a half-sister to G3 turf winner Mananan Mclir and G3-placed turf runner Sandra’s Rose. Nice breeding. Silent Tiff draws in from the AE list, and comes off a second place finish at Mountaineer on her first attempt—a bullet 3f work at Churchill lends credence to her abilities, but I’ll pass since the outside 12 post isn’t ideal. My upset choice here is Beau’s Valentine (15-1 m/l) who didn’t like the hard Churchill surface first out, but has trained extremely well over the Keeneland polytrack since June and could love the Tapeta. She’s out of Alphabet Soup, whose sire Cozzene is enjoying tremendous success with progeny on synthetic surfaces.
Race 3 (3up claiming, 5.5 furlongs):
I don’t have PP’s for this race, but heartily recommend Danthebluegrassman, even with my betting nemesis Rodrigo Madrigal, Jr. up—doesn’t everyone have a jockey that loses when you bet on their horse, but wins when you don’t? Madrigal is mine. Urgh! But, I hope he does Dan right today.
Race 5 (3up starter allowance, 1-1/8 mile):
How can one not root for One Eyed Joker—this year’s Claiming Crown victor? I also have a soft spot for longshot Anasazi Moon.
Race 6 (3up allowance, 1mile 70yds):
Steve Klesaris’ Cat Criminal comes off a year+ layoff, but has been training at Fair Hill’s since late May—a good solid bet. Holiday Peak may look unlikely, particularly as a 7-year-old workhorse making his 59th lifetime start. However, he is hitting his stride this year, finishing in the money in 8 of 10 tries, including 1 win and 3 seconds at this distance. He worked on PID’s Tapeta track, posting a very respectable 1:00.20 5f work. Graham Motion’s Everyman comes off the grass, including an unsuccessful run in the G3 Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland in April. I would be pleasantly surprised if he won out here.
Race 7 (3up allowance, 6.5 furlongs):
Tom Amoss’ Indian Chant won the Prairie Meadows Sprint last out, and has been in the money 6 of 7 tries this year since being claimed by Maggi Moss, BUT…his worst placing have been in one turf try and on Hollywood’s cushion track, so…not so sure how he will handle the synthetic track. Kiaran McLaughlin’s Museeb should excel here, having never finished out of the money in 3 previous all-weather surface attempts. Additionally, he’s coming off a strong third place finish in the Bold Venture Stakes at Woodbine at this distance on July 22, and an excellent 4f work (:47). I also like Steve Asmussen’s Kingsgate Bay who excelled on polytrack in England three years ago, and bled in his only start this year off that extended layoff. He’ll run with Lasix for the first time.