07/04/2012 2:54PM

Presque Isle: Ryan's Gift should be primed for Leematt

Alyssa Spakowski/EQUI-PHOTO
The 3-year-old Pollard's Boy will face older Pennsylvania-breds in the Leemat.

Pennsylvania-bred milers take center stage at Presque Isle Downs on Friday evening with a pair of $75,000 Tapeta stakes, the Northern Fling for fillies and mares and the Leematt for 3-year-olds and up.

Ryan’s Gift can be expected to improve in his second start of the season in the Leematt. The 5-year-old Ryan’s Gift finished second locally June 14 in a one-mile allowance event, the same distance as the Leematt. Ryan’s Gift sports a 9-3-3-1 record over the Presque Isle Tapeta surface. He signaled his readiness with a bullet work at Finger Lakes on June 28. Luis Perez retains the mount on Ryan’s Gift, who is trained by Mike Ferraro.

The 3-year-old Pollard’s Boy will be facing his elders for the first time in the Leematt. Pollard’s Boy won the Pennsylvania Nursery at Parx in his last out of 2011. In his first out this season, Pollard’s Boy finished second in the Danzig at Penn National on June 1 against 3-year-old Pa.-bred horses. With an abundance of early speed in the 12-horse Leematt field, his come-from-behind style should fit well. Trained by Bernie Houghton, Pollard’s Boy had a bullet work at Penn National on June 23 and then a work over the Presque Isle surface last Saturday. Scott Spieth will ride for the first time.

Sky Willow will be trying a synthetic surface for the first time in the Northern Fling. Sky Willow won an optional claiming event at Delaware Park going 1 1/16 miles on the grass two starts ago. In her most recent outing, she finished third in the $75,000 Lyphard on the turf at Penn National on June 15 going the same distance. Trainer Jonathan Sheppard sports a 32 percent hit rate when switching a horse from turf to synthetic. Alex Cintron will ship in to ride.

Sheppard also sends out Fairly Royal in the 10-horse field. Fairly Royal has won her last two outs, a turf starter allowance at Atlantic City and then a statebred allowance event locally May 25. Mario Pino will ride.

Also entered were Easter Service, Prize Winner, Lenape Rim, Donttangowithmango, Weeper, Wacked Out, Entirely Honest, and Ask Me Anything.