09/12/2007 11:00PM

Synthetic specialists meet in Masters

EmailERIE, Pa. - Saturday's $400,000 Presque Isle Downs Masters, the highlight of this track's inaugural meet, has developed into a summit of synthetic-track specialists. Six of the eight entrants in the six-furlong event for fillies and mares have been working on synthetic surfaces at Arlington, Hollywood, Turfway, Presque Isle, Woodbine, or the Fair Hill training center, and they will all meet on the Tapeta here Saturday.

The Saturday card also includes two $175,000 stakes, the Presque Isle Mile and the Karl Boyes Memorial.

Five of the eight entrants - Mary Delaney, Wild Gams, Miss Macy Sue, Vestrey Lady, and Miraculous Miss - are graded stakes winners, and a sixth, Shaggy Mane, finished a close second in the Grade 1 Princess Rooney in her last start. Shaggy Mane comes into the Masters off a series of nice works over Polytrack at Del Mar and Cushion Track at Hollywood Park and is expected to be favored here.

Mary Delaney has turned into a synthetic specialist with six wins in her nine races over man-made surfaces. Trained by Eddie Kenneally, Mary Delaney's last start was a fifth-place finish on dirt in the Grade 2 Vagrancy at Belmont Park.

Mary Delaney tuned up for this race by working 59.20 seconds over Turfway Park's Polytrack

"She's just not a dirt filly," Kenneally said. "She is sitting on go. We are bringing in the top man [Julien Leparoux] to ride; we are hoping she'll love the Tapeta."

Mary Delaney also loves six furlongs, having won 3 of 4 lifetime starts at the distance. Her lifetime-high Beyer Speed Figure came in the $50,000 Queen Stakes at Turfway Park in March, when she earned a 100 Beyer.

Wild Gams hasn't started since finishing third in an overnight stakes at Belmont Park in May. She is trained by Ben Perkins Jr., but Ben Perkins Sr. is still lurking in the shadows.

"We're bringing her into the race off a layoff," said Perkins Sr. "When she last raced, Wild Gams got a stone bruise in her right front foot. But she is training beautifully at Presque Isle, and she'll be ready to go on Saturday."

Wild Gams finished second in the Grade 1 Prioress at Belmont and won the Grade 3 Safely Kept Breeders' Cup at Laurel Park last year. A return to that form will make her a top contender.

Steve Klesaris entered two fillies: Miraculous Miss, a winner of three graded stakes last year, and Coli Bear, who was entered to "ensure an honest pace," according to Klesaris.

"With her style, the pace will not be soft," he added.

Even though Miraculous Miss has never raced on a synthetic surface, she has been working at Fair Hill training center, which has the same Tapeta surface as Presque Isle.

In her two starts this year she finished fifth in the Princess Rooney and was third in the Ballerina at Saratoga.

"She came out in good order at Saratoga, and ran well considering she doesn't like an off track and the rider lost the whip at the three-sixteenths pole," Klesaris said. "The Tapeta surface is one she relishes in the morning. Hopefully she will love to race on it."

Miss Macy Sue won her first four races this year for trainer Kelly Von Hemel before finishing a rank fourth as the favorite in the Honorable Miss at Saratoga. She has been working over Polytrack at Arlington Park.

Woodbine shipper Vestrey Lady has made her last three starts on turf, winning an allowance race and the Grade 3 Royal North before running fifth at two turns on the turf. Vestrey Lady has been working on the Polytrack surface at Woodbine.

Smart and Fancy has won four stakes at four different tracks this year.