We all have our racing traditions, and a fairly new one for me over the last few years is to play Presque Isle Downs pretty heavy immediately following the close of Saratoga. For those who have never been there, it's a nice racino near the shores of Lake Erie, about 90 miles south of the Turk's home near Buffalo. With a pumped up purse structure, the track has several big race days that attracts shippers to its very fair playing tapeta surface, the same fake dirt that's in Dubai and Golden Gate Fields, and in the Turk's opinion, one of the best.
Like with the majority of my life, I'm out of sequence with the mainstream. I enjoy Fall Racing more than I do the craziness that is Del Mar and Saratoga, and far more than I do the Triple Crown season. The next eight weeks leading up to the Breeders' Cup is my favorite time of the year in racing, with horses being conditioned towards reaching their peak form, with the best of the best aiming for World Championships. As a fan of the handicap division and turf runners, these next few months represent what I enjoy about racing. I just don't care for two year old racing and quite honestly, I'm not that into three year olds. I like warriors and warrior princesses, I like to see 15 starts in the lifetime line and I like to see lots of tracks and lots of last furlong battles. I'm an information handicapper and a fan of the hard knocker's. Let's get it on!
Groupie Doll seems to be head and shoulders above the rest here. Before injury, two straight Grade 1 sprint wins by a combined 10+ lengths. Training sharply for Trainer Bradley, a :58 for 5f 15 days ago shows her to be fit. She will press the pace before unleashing a powerful close.
The field is big and talented. The Turk likes big fields, 9-12 horses is my preference. Below Groupie Doll is a talented collection of horses that can be had for a price. I'm anticipating Groupie Doll will go off even or less than even money which will create some real opportunities if the daughter of Bowman's Band stumbles.
Salty Strike (pictured above winning the Grade 3 Dogwood) comes in for trainer McPeek off three straight wins and a gritty Grade 3 win in early August. No wins on synthetic, no wins at distance, first PID start, but fast and a winner, 7 of 16 lifetime. No Lasix for this girl: From an article written by Joe Aaron after the Grade 3 Gardenia, McPeek said the medication has had an adverse affect with Salty Strike in the past. "It dulls her a little bit when you give her lasix, so we don't treat her with it," said McPeek. "She doesn't need it. She runs very well without it." How novel. She carries a race high 123 pounds, same as Groupie Doll.
It's Me Mom set a smokin' pace last time out at Saratoga; :21/:43 3/5ths before fading. 6 of 9 wins at PID, 8 of 9 in the money on Synthetics and 8 wins in last 13 starts and 11 wins in 19 trips to starting gate. Expect to strike the first turn on the lead. Only concern is how far she'll drop in the last 1/16. Expecting top four finish.
Ariana D and Sweet Cassiopeia have a shot at hitting the ticket but Atlantic Hurricane, shipping in from Woodbine, has a chance to make the most noise. 11 of 11 in the money over the last two seasons.
Post time is in an hour. I better get after the betting.
I'm thinking Superfecta with most tickets singling Groupie Doll on top.
Have fun, Turk Out!