The Grade 3 $400,000 Presque Isle Masters is the signature event of the Presque Isle Downs season and it will be run later today at the Erie, Pennsylvania plant. A full field of 12 will go to the post in what promises to be a strong prep race for the Breeders' Cup Filly And Mare Sprint.
In handicapping The Masters Stakes, I find the field to be very top-heavy with not too many longshot chances. I will have to pick #9 Informed Decision on top. She was defeated in the Grade 1 Ballerina over a sloppy track at Saratoga, but had the previous five performances, four coming with graded company. Her last three workouts are all bullets and Julien Leparoux gets the ride. There is a lot to like about her today.
For second, I will go with the Godolphin runner, #3 Flashing, who was the winner of the Grade 1 Test at The Spa. You might even get a little value with her today given her morning-line of 6-1. She broke her maiden at 6 1/2 furlongs in her first start at Aqueduct in November 2008, but she has not gone as short a distance as that until today. The Test is run at seven furlongs.
#2 Diamondrella is working a six-race winning streak entering today, all of them coming on the turf and with Rajiv Maragh aboard. Well, she is an offspring of Rock Of Gibraltar, runner-up in the 2002 Breeders' Cup Mile. She did win the Grade 1 Just A Game last time out at one mile. She is trying the Tapeta surface at Presque Isle for the first time.
To wrap up the top four, I will use the Pletcher trainee, #4 Game Face. I don't think the extended sprint distance of the Masters Stakes suits her style. Her last two efforts at longer than six furlongs were losses. Of course, the last two races with Edgar Prado were six-furlongs victories at Calder and Saratoga.
Finally, if there is a longshot to like in the field, it might be the local product, #7 Sweet Lorena, who has won three straight races at Presque Isle Downs and is listed at 12-1 today. Her Sire is the extended sprint specialist from Canada, Langfuhr, and since I can't find another attractive longshot, she will have to do.
So, what is the wager for the Masters Stakes? Well, loathe as I am to focus on favorites like this, we'll do it really inexpensively today:
$2 EX 9 WITH 2-3-4-7
There you have it, folks. Enjoy the race and remember, They Are Off accepts no responsibility for any wagers placed in conjunction with these selections. Tune in Monday for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!