09/09/2009 12:00AM

Game Face to try synthetic in Masters

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Barbara D. Livingston
If Game Face runs well at Presque Isle, she will try the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint on Santa Anita's synthetic track.

Game Face comes into Saturday night's Grade 3, $400,000 Presque Isle Masters, the track's premier race, off two consecutive stakes wins but still has a question to answer for trainer Todd Pletcher. How will she perform in her first start over a synthetic surface?

"If she handles it well and runs a good race, we will look into running her in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint," Pletcher said. "If she doesn't, then we will pick out some dirt races and go that way with her. We'll just have to see how she likes it."

Informed Decision should be favored, having won a pair of Grade 1 stakes this season - the at Churchill Downs - and 8 of 11 lifetime starts. She is 4 for 4 on synthetic surfaces. Other top contenders are Diamondrella and Flashing, both Grade 1 winners. Bear Now, Dubai Majesty, and Porte Bonheur have all won Grade 2 or 3 events.

Game Face won the at Saratoga in her most recent start. Both events were at six furlongs; the Masters will be run at 6 1/2 furlongs.

"I don't think the added distance will be a problem at all, she has won at seven furlongs," said Pletcher, speaking of the at Gulfstream Park.

Game Face has won 8 of her 15 career starts, all over dirt. She has won four graded stakes this season, beginning with the at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 19.

Pletcher plans on shipping Game Face to Presque Isle on Friday.

"We will ship her from Belmont the day before the race," he said.

Edgar Prado, who has piloted Game Face to her last two wins, will ride.

Because of its position on the calendar and because the Breeders' Cup was run over Santa Anita's synthetic surface last year, as it will be again on Nov. 6-7, the Masters has been given graded status this year in only it's third running. Presque Isle Downs has a Tapeta surface, Santa Anita has a Pro Ride all-weather surface.

Fourteen horses were entered in the Masters, but only 12 will be allowed to start. Two horses, Premier Roma and Old Time Religion, are on the also-eligible list in case there are any scratches.