Updated on 07/06/2011 4:40PM

Presque Isle Downs: Pocket Patch tries synthetic in Leematt

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Pocket Patch will make his first start on a Tapeta surface in the $75,000 Leematt at Presque Isle Downs on Friday evening.

Pocket Patch will try a synthetic surface for the first time in his career when he starts as the morning-line favorite for the $75,000 Leematt at Presque Isle Downs on Friday evening.

Trained by Flint Stites, Pocket Patch will be going for his second win of the season when taking on seven other older Pennsylvania-bred colts and geldings in the one-mile event. Pocket Patch ended 2010 with a win in the Maryland Million Turf going 1 1/8 miles over a yielding turf course Oct. 2 at Laurel. In his first out this year, the 6-year-old gelding won the Henry Clark at Pimlico going a mile on the turf. After a fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 Dixie on May 21 going 1 1/8 miles on turf, Pocket Patch finished seventh, beaten 3 1/4 lengths, in the Da Hoss at Colonial, once again going a mile on the turf. A return to statebred ranks should help his chances in the Leematt. Erik Rodriguez will ride for the first time.

Should Pocket Patch not take to the Presque Isle Tapeta surface, Ryan’s Gift could prove to be the one to beat. The 4-year-old Michael Ferraro-trained gelding comes into the event off a five-length win in an allowance race at Finger Lakes. Ryan’s Gift has two local wins, including the Lil E Tee last year. Scott Spieth will ride for the first time.

With Pennsylvania-breds taking center stage Wednesday evening, older fillies and mares will contest the Northern Fling, a one-mile event. Fugitive Angel will try to remain unbeaten locally after two victories over the Tapeta surface. Her most recent win came May 21 in the Ambassador of Luck, a six-furlong event that she won by a length. Last season, she won 4 of 5 starts, including the Malvern Rose on Aug. 19 by 7 1/4 lengths in ridden-out fashion.

Trained by Hall of Famer Jonathan Sheppard, Fugitive Angel used Malvern Rose as a springboard to win the Grade 3 Valley View at Keeneland on Oct. 22. The 4-year-old Alphabet Soup filly is a perfect 3 for 3 against statebred company, having also won the Russian Rhythm at Penn National last year. Mario Pino will retain the mount.

Others in the field include Tap Softly, Pop Up, You Need Me, Malibu Win, Chiseling Nickie, Diva’s Gold, and Project Rose.