09/09/2010 2:55PM

Sheppard confident about Informed Decision

Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Jonathan Sheppard thinks Informed Decision is ready for "a top effort."

Informed Decision breezed over the Presque Isle surface Thursday morning, and trainer Jonathan Sheppard pronounced the 2009 Eclipse Award-winning female sprinter “ready to give a good account of herself” in Saturday’s Grade 3, $400,000 Masters Stakes.

The Masters is the richest at Presque Isle, the northwestern Pennsylvania track where purses are fueled by revenue from 2,000 slot machines.

Informed Decision comes into the Masters off an uncharacteristically poor sixth-place performance in the Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga. A year ago, she also disappointed in the Ballerina but came into Presque Isle and turned in a sharp effort to win the Masters. Just as in 2009, Sheppard is disappointed with his mare’s last race, but is looking forward to a rebound performance Saturday.

“Of course I was disappointed,” he said of the Aug. 28 Ballerina, “but it is hard to say exactly what went wrong. She ran well on the backside and then didn’t run well on the turn. She got in tight in the stretch, or I think she would have been much closer at the end.”

Sheppard reserved some of the blame for himself.

“I am not sure we trained her right for the race at Saratoga,” he said, “but she is ready for a top effort now.”

Julien Leparoux retains the mount.

The 6 1/2-furlong has a field of 12, following the scratches of Indian Ink and Rollicking Affair, and will be run over a synthetic Tapeta surface. In addition to Informed Decision, the top contenders are Dr. Zic, winner of the Grade 1 Madison over Polytrack at Keeneland; Dubai Majesty, winner of the Incredible Revenge on turf at Monmouth last tme out; and Mother Russia, who has placed in a pair of graded stakes over Polytrack at Woodbine in her most recent starts.

Where Informed Decision runs next and on what surface will be determined after the outcome of the Masters. “ We will have to see what happens and keep our options open.” Sheppard said when asked if he still planned to try his charge on the turf. “All options are still on the table” replied Sheppard when asked if the Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs this year is a possibility. “She doesn’t seem to like conventional dirt as well, but she did win there on the dirt last year.” Dr. Zic comes into the Masters off a poor performance in the July 10 Princess Rooney at Calder. Trainer Joan Scott is not concerned about that effort, however.

“She bled in the race,” Scott said. “We have given her plenty of time off and she is really doing well.”

Scott explained that even though there are gaps in Dr. Zic’s work pattern, she has been working consistently at Keeneland.

“The clocker isn’t always there to catch them, but she has been very consistent, and I am looking for a top effort from her,” Scott said. “She definitely is better on synthetic and the distance is perfect for her.”