September 12, 2009

P-i-d ... What's Pid ???

P-i-d … What's Pid? That is exactly the question I asked myself just two short years ago as I had my nose deep inside the Daily Racing Form. I did a little research and found out it was a racetrack in Pennsylvania called Presque Isle Downs. OK, fair enough, probably another new track with cheap horses surviving on the fringe of the thoroughbred horse racing map. My stubborn mind has been changed though, as today I come not to bury Pid, but rather to praise Presque Isle Downs. Through further investigation, I learned that it is in Erie, PA, just off Interstate 90 and almost smack dab in the middle of Cleveland and Buffalo. Opened in 2007, they run on Tapeta, a synthetic surface designed by Michael Dickinson of Da Hoss fame. Tapeta actually seems to be better liked than many of the other synthetic surfaces seen today in the U.S. Presque Isle’s purses are supplemented by slots and like many tracks with slots, their purse structure is strong. My appreciation has grown through seeing classy horses, and quality horse people ply their trade at Presque Isle and by noticing live horses coming from Presque Isle. This is especially true of quality filly and mare sprinters.

Tonight is the Presque Isle Masters, a $400K sprint for the fairer sex and for the first time ever, I proclaim Presque Isle Downs to have the race of the week. Not bad for a track still in their infancy and located not too far from the middle of nowhere. Sorry residents of Erie! The Masters (I even like the name of the race, reminds me of April in Augusta) is loaded with fast females and headed by four Grade 1 winners. Informed Decision, Game Face, Flashing and Diamondrella are all worthy of being considered as top contenders for the upcoming Breeder’s Cup Filly & Mare Sprint and with a win tonight, should become one of the favorites for that race.

The Masters offers a perplexing handicapping dilemma in that most of the horses are coming off different surfaces. Informed Decision is the proven commodity having a sparkling record on synthetic surfaces and she is likely to appreciate the switch from Saratoga slop to the Tapeta track. Game Face and Flashing are both coming off impressive wins on the dirt and have never been better. Neither, though has experience on this surface. Diamondrella conversely comes in as a turf horse and may have an easier time adapting to the all weather surface than the dirt specialists. Trained by Angel Penna Jr., Diamondrella has won six straight on the lawn and is using this race as a gauge to see which BC race best suits her. It should be a most interesting race and I believe it is likely that more than one of these female sprinters will be on the way to the Breeder’s Cup via Presque Isle.

Kudos to Presque Isle Downs for putting together such a fine race in such a short time in existence. I urge those who have never watched a race from Presque Isle, to watch the Masters tonight, I know I will be tuned in.


Brian Zipse said...

Ouch!!! 5 scratches, at least the big girls are still in there.

LDP said...

Cool, sounds like a good race, and it is impressive for a younger track to get all that attention. Tapeta is the only synthetic i don't mind, everything else can be thrown out the window.