Florida-breds sweep into Presque Isle Downs in Erie, Pa., today as three from the Sunshine State are expected in the $400,000 Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes. It’s Me Mom, Atlantic Hurricane and Holy Heavens all will be carrying the flag of Florida breeders in the six and one-half furlong sprint for fillies and mares which has attracted a full field of 12. Ironically, it was Florida-bred Musical Romance who won this race last year so those three distaffers will also be trying for a Florida repeat.
The horse to beat in the Presque Isle Downs Master looks to be Groupie Doll, the 2-1 morning line favorite and a winner of her last two races, both Grade 1. Trained by William Bradley who also owns Groupie Doll in partnership with Fred Bradley and Carl and Brent Burns, Groupie Doll won the Apr. 12 Madison Stakes (G1) at Keeneland before going to Churchill Downs May 5 to win the Humana Distaff (G1). In the Madison, she earned a 100 Beyer Speed Figure but it was in the Humana Distaff in which her time of 1:20.44 set a new track record at Churchill and gave Groupie Doll a 112 Beyer number. To further emphasize the impressive win at Churchill, Groupie Doll was more than seven lengths ahead of last year’s champion female sprinter and Humana runner-up Musical Romance.
It’s Me Mom figures to get the most support from the wagering fans who will be betting against Groupie Doll as the Florida-bred filly has been assigned second choice in the morning line at 4-1. Trained by Lynn Scace for breeders Jean and Thomas Bosch of Holiday, Fla., It’s Me Mom last tried graded stakes competition at Saratoga on Aug. 3 but could only manage a seventh-place behind winner and fellow Florida-bred C C’s Pal in the Honorable Miss Stakes (G2). Things may have gotten away from It’s Me Mom and jockey Willie Martinez in the Honorable Miss as they sprinted away from the gate to lead the field through blazing fast fractions of :21.14 for the first quarter-mile and :43.78 for the half.
Although It’s Me Mom has won after setting a sub :22:00 for the first two furlongs as she did in the $100,000 Satin And Lace Stakes at Prisque Isle in June and in the R.M. O’Malley at Suffulk Downs last October, her best races seem to have come when the daughter of Bridlewood Farm stallion Put It Back can (for lack of a better term) slow it down to plus :22:00 for the first quarter. It’s Me Mom has garnered a career best 102 Beyer number twice-while winning the $150,000 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint at Gulfstream Park in January and in the $75,000 Sprint Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in April. In those races she hit the first quarter in :22.25 and :22.59 respectively.
Willie Martinez, who has ridden It’s Me Mom in 17 of 19 career races, gets the mount again and will be aboard when she breaks from post 10.
Atlantic Hurricane should also garner plenty of support from the mutuels as she is 6-1 in the morning line. Trained by Stuart Simon for B. and R. McLellan, C. Hollick and S. Simon, Atlantic Hurricane has been very consistent throughout her career having finished in the top three in 14 of 18 lifetime starts of which nine have been wins. Last time out, the 5-year-old mare was second to winner Roxy Gap in the Grade 3 Royal North Stakes at Woodbine Jul. 29. Before that, Atlantic Hurricane was seen winning a $79,119 allowance race at Woodbine Jul. 6. Both of those races came on the turf and her other races were either on the Polytrack or turf, so the move to the main track for the Presque Isle Masters will be a question mark.
Bred by Joseph J. and Thomas J. DiGrazia of Albion, Idaho, Atlantic Hurricane has drawn post two and will have the riding services of Eric Ramsammy.
Holy Heavens is expected by the morning line maker to have longer odds in the Presque Isle Masters as the 4-year-old filly has been given 30-1 odds in the program. Trained by Martin Joseph, Holy Heavens is a homebred product of owners K.K. and Devi V. Jayaraman of Ocala. Although Holy Heavens is expected to be among the highest values at post time, the chestnut filly does have a victory over the Presque Isle track having taken a $53,465 allowance race there in May.
Mario Pino will ride Holy Heavens when she breaks from the four-hole in the starting gate.
Photo by Cooley