(from Presque Isle Downs & Casino release)
The $250,000 Presque Isle Mile Sept. 13 has brought out an overflow field, led by the Phipps Stable's homebred Vacation.
There’s little denying that the Presque Isle Mile is a good spot for Vacation, a 2 1/4-length winner of the Hanshin Cup Handicap (gr. III) on Arlington's Polytrack May 23. Victorious twice on synthetic surfaces this year, including an allowance win at Keeneland, Vacation should be comfortable with the Pennsylvania track's Tapeta Footings surface. On three other occasions, Vacation has placed in graded company, and two of those efforts came at Woodbine – which has Polytrack.
But Shug McGaughey, who trains Vacation, knows that there will be competition aplenty for the 4-year-old colt when he breaks from the post 11. And while Vacation will be ridden by the two-time Eclipse Award recipient John Velazquez, it’s not a given that the duo will be accorded post-time favorite status.
Jade's Revenge, a 6-year-old horse who won the 2008 renewal of the Fort Harrod Stakes at Keeneland, has been entered by trainer H. Graham Motion. Motion has also entered Cherokee Artist, a 4-year-old colt who encountered traffic problems when finishing third in the Hanshin. He also finished second by just a head in the Leeward Stakes at Presque Isle on July 26.
Trainer Marty Wolfson is sending Motovato from Florida. The 4-year-old colt won the 1 1/16-mile Sumter Stakes April 25, and two months later captured the 1 1/8-mile Primal Stakes. Sandwiched between those efforts was a solid second-place finish in the Memorial Day Handicap (gr. III). All three races were run at Calder Race Course.
Todd Pletcher, who’s running Game Face in the $400,000 Presque Isle Masters Stakes (gr. III) a day earlier, has entered The Roundhouse in the Presque Isle Mile. The 4-year-old Fusaichi Pegasus colt was a 1 1/4-length winner in a nine-furlong allowance at Saratoga on Aug. 29.
Sea Dubai, a 5-year-old gelding owned and trained by Geraslmos Moschonas, has done most of his recent racing at Charles Town in West Virginia’s eastern panhandle. On June 20, Sea Dubai finished third in the $250,000 Charles Town Dash Handicap.
J's Sundance Halo, a 5-year-old gelding trained by Gerald S. Bennett (who recently scored his 3,000th career victory), will be trying for his second Presque Isle stakes victory. In 2008, J’s Sundance Halo was a two-length winner of the Leeward. More recently, he won in $25,000 claiming company at Presque Isle on July 18, and was second in a starter allowance on Aug. 6.
Luck Money, a 4-year-old, Irish-bred colt trained by Luis Seglin, won the Majestic Light Stakes at Saratoga in ’08. At 2, Luck Money placed in a group II race in his country of breeding. The Presque Isle Mile will be Luck Money’s second career try at eight furlongs, the first of which brought him a victory.
The 4-year-old gelding Budge Man, a stakes winner at Fonner Park in Nebraska, in April, has been entered by trainer Kellyn Gorder. Also a son of Fusaichi Pegasus, Budge Man was an allowance winner at Presque Isle last year and placed in this year’s Golden Bear Stakes at Indiana Downs.
Xela, third in this year’s Leeward for trainer Jake Secor, has been an allowance winner at Presque Isle this year. The five-year-old gelding has a local career record at the one-mile distance that includes seven starts, two victories, and a quartet of placings.
Rollicking Affair and Sweet Lorena, both of whom have been multiple allowance winners locally, are cross-entered in the Presque Isle Masters and Presque Isle Mile. Rollicking Affair has further been cross-entered in a one-mile optional claiming event on the Presque Isle Mile undercard.
The Presque Mile purse includes a $50,000 supplement from the Breeders’ Cup for horses eligible for Breeders’ Cup competition. All of the 12 entered meet that requirement, with the exceptions of Sea Dubai and Luck Money.
In 2007, the inaugural running of the Presque Isle Mile was won by Independent George, trained by Motion and ridden by Cornelio Velasquez. The 2008 renewal was won by Summer Doldrums, trained by Rick. Violette Jr. and ridden by Dale V. Beckner in a track record clocking of 1:35.97.
$250,000 Presque Isle Mile (Race 7, 8 p.m.), 3 & Up (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey, Trainer
1. J’s Sundance Halo, 113, Luis Gonzalez, Gerald S. Bennett
2. Jade’s Revenge, 113, Harry Vega, H. Graham Motion
3. The Roundhouse, 119, Chris DeCarlo, Todd A. Pletcher
4. Cherokee Artist, 122, Jeremy Rose, H. Graham Motion
5. Motovato, 122, Julien Leparoux, Martin D. Wolfson
6. Sea Dubai, 113, Mario Pino, Geraslmos Moschonas 7. Budge Man, 119, Ron Allen Jr., Kellyn Gorder 8. Xela, 119, John McKee, Jake Secor
9. Rollicking Affair, 110, Gabriel Suarez, Christopher Progno
10. Sweet Lorena, 113, Dennis Carr, Michael S. Ferraro
11. Vacation, 122, John Velazquez, Claude R. McGaughey III
12. Luck Money, 113, Luis Martinez Jr., Luis E. Seglin
13. Tiz Late, 119, Willie Martinez, Michael J. Trombetta
14. Oneshotaway, 113, No rider, Pamela Thibodeau
15. Karama, 110, Victor Lebron, Kellyn Gorder
16. Suyeta, 110, Tony Farina, Michael P. Leahy