A diverse field of 12 that includes speedsters, stalkers, deep closers, and the defending title holder was entered for the fourth running of the $250,000 Presque Isle Mile Sept. 10 at Presque Isle Downs & Casino.
J. Mack Robinson’s Cherokee Artist, a 2 3/4-length winner of last year’s edition of the race, will again be ridden in the Presque Isle Mile by Jeremy Rose. The 5-year-old horse trained by Graham Motion has a career record of six victories, seven placings, and purse earnings of $603,596 from 22 starts.
But Cherokee Artist’s competition will be formidable. Gayego, a grade I winner who represents Godolphin Racing and has earned more than $1.5 million in purses, is also in the lineup, as well as graded stakes winners Successful Dan and Mambo Meister; along with Black Belt, Rockin' Rockstar, Stunning Stag, and Ryan's Gift, all of whom are either stakes winners or graded stakes-placed.
“There are horses to worry about, that’s for sure,” said Charlie Lopresti, who trains Successful Dan. “You have to respect Gayego a lot; you have to respect Mambo Meister. Last year, my horse was undefeated (three wins in three starts). If he runs up to that form, we should be there at the end.”
“It’s a tough field, but we’ve got a very nice horse,” said Sid Attard, who trains Stunning Stag for his wife, Janet. To date, all 22 of the career starts made by Stunning Stag have been at his home base of Woodbine.
“Stunning Stag ran a very nice race his last time out (finishing second in the grade III Seagram Cup on Aug. 8), so we’re willing to take the three-hour trip to Presque Isle,” Attard said. “I think we can win, and we’re going to give it our best on Friday.”
Mambo Meister, who has been at Presque Isle since Aug. 31, breezed four furlongs over the track in :48 2/5 Sept. 6.
“I was very pleased with the way Mambo Meister got over the surface,” said trainer Phil Gleaves said. “Horses like Gayego and Cherokee Artist are going to be very competitive on Friday, but we’re going to be very competitive too.”
Cherokee Artist is not the only horse in the field that has a prior Presque Isle Stakes triumph. Rockin’ Rockstar, trained by Michael Lauer, won the $100,000 Tom Ridge Stakes May 12. Ryan’s Gift, a Pennsylvania-bred, won the state-restricted Lil E. Tee Stakes Aug. 19.
Post time for the night race is set for 8 p.m. EDT.
$250,000 Presque Isle Mile (Race 7, 8 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 Miles (Taepta) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Black Belt (WV), D V Beckner, 113, G S Bennett
2. Successful Dan (KY), J R Leparoux, 113, C Lopresti
3. Kutais (NY), A Gonzalez, 113, S Torelli
4. Gayego (KY), A Garcia, 113, S bin Suroor
5. Rockin' Rockstar (KY), W Martinez, 113, M E Lauer
6. Mambo Meister (KY), D V Beckner, 124, P A Gleaves
7. For All Who Conga (FL), D Centeno, 113, J Ness
8. Stunning Stag (ON), G Olguin, 119, S C Attard
9. I Know Why (VA), E D Rodriguez, 113, D Capuano
10. Ryan's Gift (PA), P Teator, 116, M S Ferraro
11. Cherokee Artist (KY), J Rose, 119, H G Motion
12. Allie's Event (FL), C Montalvo, 113, L A Smock
13. Super Robusto (KY), P Morales, 113, W M Catalano