09/20/2007 12:00AM

Five Pa.-bred stakes offer $450K in purses

EmailERIE, Pa. - Friday is Pennsylvania-bred night at Presque Isle Downs, with five $90,000 stakes for statebreds carded. The five stakes are named for prominent horses bred in the the Keystone State - Lil E. Tee, Presidentialaffair, Cozy Lace, Willy Wank, and First Approach. The Malvern Rose, for fillies and mares at 6 1/2 furlongs, would have been the sixth stakes of the evening but it failed to attract enough entries.

Handicapping the five races may not prove as easy as one would think, as only 14 of the 34 horses entered have run at the meet. The others have campaigned at Philadelphia Park, Delaware Park, Mountaineer Park, Thistledown, Monmouth Park, Penn National, Charles Town, and Laurel. One, Look Deep, last ran at Del Mar.

"Until this year, it hasn't been economically feasible for owners of quality Pennsylvania-breds to race in their own state," said Mark McDermott, executive director of the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association. "But having the slot machines at the racetracks has made an extraordinary difference."

According to McDermott, there are about 400 Thoroughbred breeding operations in Pennsylvania. "They range in size from the backyard, mom-and-pop outfits, to the big farms, such as Derry Meeting and Brushwood Stable," he said.

Top Pennsylvania-breds of recent years include 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Smarty Jones, and Hard Spun, one of this year's top 3-year-olds. Three Pa.-breds have won Breeders' Cup races: Alphabet Soup (1996 Classic), Tikkanen (1994 Turf) and Go for Wand (1989 Juvenile Fillies). Two of the sport's top stallions, Storm Cat and the late Danzig, were bred in Pennsylvania.

o Diplomatic Charm, a winner of four of 10 races this year, should be the favorite in the six-furlong Lil E. Tee Handicap, for 3-year-old colts and geldings. Trained by Jamie Arterburn, Diplomatic Charm comes off a two-length win in a $50,000 claiming race at Delaware Park. Streetofchampions, the highweight in the race, ran second in an open allowance race at Philadelphia Park after campaigning in Ireland. Streetofchampions is trained by Graham Motion, who is winning at a 36-percent clip this meet. Motion is based at Fair Hill training center, which has the same Tapeta surface as Presque Isle Downs.

o In the Presidentialaffair, a 6 1/2-furlong event for 3-year-olds and up, three of the seven starters - Makin Peace, Pocomoonshine, and Thaddeus - have had the benefit of a race over the Presque Isle surface. Makin Peace won an allowance race locally and Thaddeus ran second by a nose in an allowance Sept 7. Pocomoonshine ran fourth Sept. 10 in a $50,000 claiming race off a four-month layoff.

o In the Cozy Lace for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs, Power Pack has won her last three, including an open allowance race against older at Mountaineer Park. She is owned and trained by Bernie Flint.

Her main rival will be Look Deep, a maiden winner at Del Mar on Aug. 25. Look Deep has had Beyers of 90 or higher in three of her last four starts. She worked a bullet half-mile in 46 over Santa Anita's Cushion Track Sept. 12.

o In the Willy Wank, for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/8 miles, the two highweights in the field of seven are R. Earl and Serene Harbor. R. Earl was beaten only two lengths on opening day by Indian Chant, who came back to win the $175,000 Karl Boyes here. Prior to that, R. Earl finished second in a pair of statebred stakes at Penn National and Philadelphia Park. Serene Harbor ran fourth in an allowance race here Sept. 3.

o Raging Rapids, a winner of 6 of 10 races this year, will be the heavy favorite in the First Approach, for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles. Raging Rapids has a pair of statebred stakes wins at Philadelphia Park to her credit this year, the $60,000 Caught in the Rain going a mile and 70 yards, and the Northern Fling at 1o1/16 miles.