09/15/2009 11:00PM

Presque Isle doubles its fun


By all accounts, moving the Presque Isle Mile to the same weekend as the Masters was a success and something that will be continued at Presque Isle Downs. A record number of horses were nominated for both races and both were run with full fields last weekend.

A total of 72 fillies and mares were nominated to the Grade 3 Masters and 77 horses were nominated to the $250,000 Presque Isle Mile. Both races have moved in the direction that management set when they positioned the Masters as a stepping-stone for the Breeder's Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

The Masters was given its Grade 3 ranking this year in its third running.

"It is a big step forward for us," said stakes coordinator Jim Cornes.

Cornes is responsible for recruiting horses for both races, as well as making sure all of the entrants have what they need to compete at Presque Isle, including help with travel plans.

Presque Isle management expects to continue running both races on the same weekend.

"Everybody had good things to say, the weekend went off without a hitch," said Debbie Howells, general manager of racing. "I think they were the two best races we have had since we opened. The handle was up for both races and I think it helped that some trainers brought their horses for the weekend, rather than ship in for just one race."