From Presque Isle Downs
Fifty-seven horses, including a host of stakes winners, have been nominated to a pair of stakes that will anchor the Sept. 29 closing-night card of the inaugural racing season at Presque Isle Downs.
The final program of the 25-night meet will feature the $100,000 HBPA Stakes for fillies and mares at a mile and 70 yards, and the $100,000 Fitz Dixon Jr. Memorial Juvenile Stakes for 2-year-olds at six furlongs.
“This is a really good way for us to close out the meet, with two black-type races for horses from prominent stables,” said Joe Narcavish, racing secretary at Presque Isle. “Both stakes will likely generate aggressive wagering. I see them as having very competitive fields.”
The HBPA Stakes has lured 30 nominees, one of whom is the 4-year-old filly Hystericalady, a four-length winner of the grade 1 Humana Distaff Handicap at Churchill Downs May 5. Hysterical Lady is trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, who for the past two decades has dominated the trainer standings at Northern California tracks.
Cryptoquip, victorious in the grade 3 Arlington Park Oaks in 2006, is another HBPA nominee. The 4-year-old Ohio-bred filly is trained by H. Graham Motion, who won the $175,000 Presque Isle Mile Sept. 15 with Independent George.
Baghdaria, a four-length winner of the Indiana Oaks (gr. III) at Hoosier Park last year, is also a potential participant. The 4-year-old filly is trained by Tom Amoss, who sent out Indian Chant to win the Karl Boyes Memorial Northwestern Pa. Stakes Sept. 15 and who led all Presque Isle conditioners through Sept. 22 with nine victories.
The HBPA nomination list includes the 5-year-old mare Dina, who comes from the barn of New York-based trainer James A. Jerkens; and Maggie Slew, a 4-year-old filly trained by Kentucky-based Patrick B. Byrne. Both runners are graded stakes-placed.
Stakes winners Bavarian Belle, Casey’s Jet, Eyes On Eddy, Peak Maria’s Way, Plaid, Tens Holy Spirit, Tufted, Unplugged, Victory Pool and Water Gap are on the list of nominees as well.
The Fitz Dixon Jr. Memorial, which might serve as a prep for one or two Breeders’ Cup Juvenile participants, has lured 27 nominees. Among them is the Mike Trombetta-trained High Appeal, a six-length winner of the Chenery Stakes on the grass at Colonial Downs in Virginia July 29.
Yonegwa, a two-length winner of the James C. Ellis Juvenile Stakes at Ellis Park Aug. 18, is another Fitz Dixon nominee. Trained by Michael Maker, the colt was ridden to victory in the Ellis Park stakes by Miguel Mena, who led the Presque Isle jockey standings with 24 wins through Sept. 22.
Possetothemax, a 2 ¼-length winner of the Prairie Meadows Gold Juvenile Stakes July 2, is on the list of nominees. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Possetothemax has placed in stakes at Lone Star Park in Texas and Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino in Louisiana, and has not finished worse than third in any of his five career starts.