09/06/2013 12:56PM

Presque Isle Downs Mile has sharp favorite in Hogy

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Barbara D. Livingston
Hogy goes into the Presque Isle Mile off this victory in the Troy Stakes at Saratoga.

Hogy, who has won two of his last three starts, has been made the 2-1 morning-line favorite for the $250,000 Presque Isle Mile on Sunday evening at Presque Isle Downs. The Presque Isle Mile, a one-mile race on the synthetic Tapeta surface for 3-year-olds and up, highlights the first of the two biggest days of the meet, capped by the Grade 2, $400,000 Presque Isle Downs Masters on Monday.

In May, Hogy won the Grade 3 Hanshin, a one-mile race over Arlington’s Polytrack surface. Hogy finished second two starts back in the Arlington Sprint on July 6 and then won the Troy at Saratoga on Aug. 14. The last two races were at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf.

Hogy worked four furlongs in 47.89 at Saratoga on Tuesday, the third-best work of 36 at the distance that day, and shipped to Presque Isle Downs Friday.

Although Hogy’s last two starts have come sprinting on turf, trainer Wayne Catalano said the racing surface and distance make little difference to him. Catalano took over the training of Hogy before his last start.

“We have only had him one race, but looking at his past performances makes me think it makes no difference to him,” Catalano said.

Hogy’s record bears that out. He has won on fast dirt, sloppy dirt, firm turf, yielding turf, and Polytrack, and in his only start over the Presque Isle Tapeta surface he was third in the Tom Ridge Stakes last year at 3.

Hogy will break from post 9 in the field of 12. There is plenty of early speed in the Presque Isle Downs Mile, which Catalano said should benefit his horse.

“He likes to stay just off the pace on the outside, so we had a great draw,” Catalano said. “We should be in a perfect spot. We drew an outside post, which was great.”

Hogy carries co-high weight of 124 pounds on Sunday, but Catalano noted that he carried the same weight when he missed by a head in the Arlington Sprint.

“I don’t think it will affect him at all,” Catalano said.

Joe Rocco Jr. retains the mount on Hogy.

Woodbine shipper Alpha Bettor also carries 124 pounds and is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line.

Alpha Bettor has won two of three starts this year, all coming at Woodbine. He won the Grade 2 Eclipse in May and the Grade 3 Seagram Cup on Aug. 3, both 1 1/16-mile races on Polytrack. In between those two starts, he finished third in the Grade 3 Dominion Day, a 1 1/4-mile race on Polytrack.

The shorter one-mile distance at Presque Isle will not be a problem for Alpha Bettor, according to his trainer, Danny Vella.

“This race is not void of speed, but he should be able to stay up close,” Vella said. “He has run a couple of good seven-furlong races and I think a mile may be just perfect for him.”

Vella is pointing Alpha Bettor to a pair of October races at Woodbine, the Durham Cup and the Autumn.

Super Chunky won the Presque Isle Mile prep on Aug. 18 by a nose. Trained by Ken Cox, Super Chunky comes from off the pace. Jockey Malcolm Franklin will ride him for the second straight time.

Mark McDermott: Filly takes on boys

Miss Behaviour will try to remain unbeaten in the $75,000 Mark McDermott Stakes, the supporting feature on Sunday. The McDermott is for Pennsylvania-bred 2-year-olds going six furlongs.

One of three fillies in the 11-horse field, Miss Behaviour has won both of her starts. Miss Behavior, trained by Phil Schoenthal, won a maiden race on July 22 at Parx, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 84, the highest in the McDermott field. In her most recent start, on Sept. 1, Miss Behaviour won the Sorority Stakes at Monmouth by 8 1/4 lengths. The Sorority was at the same six-furlong distance as the McDermott and she earned an 81 Beyer that day. Gary Cruise retains the mount.

Schoenthal also sends out the undefeated Elevated, a winner at Parx in both of his starts. He won a maiden race July 23 with a Beyer Figure of 61 and an allowance event Aug. 19 with a Beyer of 75.