09/18/2017 7:50PM

Ami's Mesa sets track record in Presque Isle Masters

Coady Photography/Presque Isle Downs
Ami's Mesa, ridden by Luis Contreras, stays unbeaten in 2017 with a victory Monday in the Presque Isle Masters.

Ami's Mesa cut back in distance to put her unbeaten season on the line in Monday night's Grade 2, $400,000 Presque Isle Masters. She needed almost every inch of the ground she had to work with, wearing down a game Bar of Gold for the victory in the Pennsylvania track’s signature event.

Ami’s Mesa broke the track record for 6 1/2 furlongs on Presque Isle's synthetic track, covering the distance in 1:14.68. Two-time Eclipse Award champion Groupie Doll established the previous mark of 1:14.88 while winning the Masters for the second time in 2013.

Ami's Mesa ($4.60), who is trained by Josie Carroll for owner Ivan Dalos, won the first two starts of her career in 2015, including the Glorious Song Stakes at Woodbine. But she went winless in three outings in 2016.

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This year, the Sky Mesa filly has blossomed, winning all four of her starts. She posted a one-length score in the Grade 3 Ontario Matron going 1 1/16 miles at Woodbine, then romped by 6 1/4 in the Grade 3 Seaway Stakes at seven furlongs there in her start before the Masters.

Jockey Luis Contreras said he wasn’t worried about the distance of Monday’s race.

“She was really sharp today - I can't believe how sharp she was today,” he said. “The gates opened, and she put herself in a great position, so I just kept her there and happy, tried not to get in trouble in the race.”

Longshot Cavalia took the field through an opening half of 45.18 seconds. Bar of Gold was a length back between horses, with Artesia to her inside and Ami’s Mesa sitting fourth on her outside.

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Bar of Gold moved up to confront Cavalia on the turn and gained a brief lead in the middle of the stretch, but Ami’s Mesa, who had fanned four wide into the lane, was rolling. With Contreras regularly flashing the whip into her line of sight, Ami’s Mesa struck the front inside the sixteenth pole and scooted clear to win by a length.

“I know when the quarter pole comes to me, she’s gonna give me everything she has,” Contreras said.

Bar of Gold was second by 1 3/4 lengths over Cavalia in third. It was the eighth top-three finish in a graded stakes for Bar of Gold, including a third in last year’s Masters, but she has yet to win one.

The order of finish was completed by Pretty Perfection, Tulsa Queen, Indulgent, Ginger N Rye, Carolina Shag, Artesian, Code Warrior, Clothes Fall Off, and Candid Cathy.