Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Nomination Is In: The Grade 2 Presque Downs Masters

Presque Isle Downs
Welcome friends to The Turk and the Little Turk blog.  I'd like to start by thanking The Thorofan. an organization run by, and for, the average horse racing fan.  If you are looking for a way to make social connections at the racetrack, The Thorofan might just be for you so check it out.

Monday, September 8, is the 8th running of the Presque Isle Downs Masters, a Grade 2 race for fillies and mares, 3 years old and up.  This year's edition lacks the pizzazz and star power associated with any brace where the fabulous Groupie Doll appears, but its a solid 12 horse field nonetheless.  Groupie Doll set the track record last year, winning this race for two years consecutive, so this field is really getting a break now that the big mare has retired.

For those of you not familiar with Presque Isle Downs, don't write it off as a non-sexy, racino.  The fake dirt plays very fair, and the surface is safe too, with  a breakdown rate of .83 per 1,000 starts over five years, compared to 1.37 deaths per 1,000 starts from all fake dirt tracks and 1.92 deaths per 1,000 starts on all surfaces over the same period (The Jockey Club).

The Turk's love of horse racing ebbs and flows.  The dearth of good older horses, horses that have multi-year careers, really saps my enthusiasm.  I may be down on the current state of racing, but its fun events like Presque Isle's big weekend of racing that brings me back from the edges of apathy.  After spending most of the summer handicapping and betting instead of blogging (I didn't feel like I had much to say about the sport), I'm using the Masters Weekend as a way to regroup my blogs focus and start my preparations for the Breeders' Cup Saturday, always my favorite betting day of the year.
Anyways, let me get back to the task at hand, the Presque Downs Masters.

Northern Passion, the Ontario bred Mark Casse/Patrick Husbands combination is winless at the distance and most likely would like a few more panels, but I'm picking the 5 YO mare for her class and overall solid and consistent performances.  6 of 8 in the money on fake dirt, 9 of 17 lifetime in the money, 4 of last 9 in the money.

Disco Barbie will challenge for the win;  3 of 3 at PID, including her last time out 6.5 furlong Allowance win by 5.5 lengths as the heavily bet chalk.  4 of 5 in the money in 2014, 4 of 4 in the money on fake dirt and 3 of 3 at the distance, the 4 YO Kentucky bred is a horse for this course.

Master the Blues, the 5 YO Mare from Master Command, is a PID regular, but at shorter distances typically.  Desormeaux is up after riding her to a win at Del Mar in early August where she set her career best Beyer.

Ageless is a 5 YO Mare as well out of Successful Appeal and comes in off a driving 6f turf win.  This is first effort on fake dirt after going 5 for 5 in the money on Turf and 12 of 14 lifetime in the money, including 4 of 4 in the money in 2014.  She's the fastest and my consistent horse of the field.

Madame Cactus is entering her second race off a long layoff of >180 days, something trainer Peter Eurton wins 15% of the time with.  Talamo is up for the CA based 4 YO.

Living the Life (Ire) is Trained by Gary Mandella and has Mike Smith, up.  She's making her second North American start after winning her debut at Del Mar at 6 furlongs.  11 of 14 in the money over fake dirt lifetime 12 of 20 lifetime in the money.

My Option is capable of freakish good efforts like her 99 Beyer in the Grade 3 Chicago Handicap at Arlington Park but with clunkers along the way.

So what to do with this?  I'm leaning towards a fun ten cent superfecta built around my base handicap:  4-5 OVER 4-5-10-11 OVER 1-5-7-8-10-11 OVER 1-7-8-10-11 for a $9.60 bet.

Whatever you do, have fun and enjoy your track experience.

Finally, please remember in your prayers the family of Juan Vazquez, a 39 year old exercise rider killed in a training session on the Belmont track this past week.  Rest in Peace Juan.

Juan Vazquez (image used by courtesy of Barbara Livingston)

Have fun friends, Turk Out!