09/02/2009 12:00AM

Diamondrella leaning to Masters


With nominations now closed for the Grade 3 Masters, the highlight of the Presque Isle meet, stakes coordinator Jim Cornes is upbeat about how the race is coming together. The $400,000 Masters will be run at 6 1/2 furlongs over Presque Isle's Tapeta surface on Sept. 12.

"The free nominations are great for everybody involved," said Cornes. "I think it will be a very competitive race."

One of the top nominees is Diamondrella, winner of the Grade 1 Just a Game over a mile of yielding turf at Belmont Park on June 6. Diamondrella has won six consecutive races, dating back to June of 2008.

As of Wednesday, Angel Penna was not 100 percent sure he would run at Presque Isle, but it sounded as though he was leaning that way.

"She is doing great, but has missed some works because of the weather," he said. "She is not ready to go long yet but six and a half furlongs wouldn't be a problem."

Penna is in the process of deciding which Breeders' Cup race would fit Diamondrella the best, the Filly and Mare Sprint or the BC Mile.

"If she is going to compete against fillies on the synthetic then we need to run her on a synthetic track and see if she likes it," Penna said. "If she doesn't, we will run her against the boys on the turf."

In addition to the Masters, Penna is also considering the one-mile Noble Damsel, a Grade 3 turf race at Belmont on Sept. 19, for Diamondrella.