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Presque Isle Downs Race Track
Established in 2007, the Presque Isle Downs track was built as a combination of a racetrack and casino by MTR Gaming Group, with the majority of the profits going to the state of Pennsylvania. Their unique track is the largest in the Northwest with a synthetic surface. In its relatively brief history, Presque Isle Downs has attracted a number of races with large purses, resulting in fierce competition.
Presque Isle Downs Horse Racing
The Presque Isle Downs racetrack oval is one mile in length and features a modern synthetic Tapeta track, which was the first of its kind in the United States. The material is a combination of fiber, sand and rubber, finished with a wax coating, forming the top half-foot of the track.
Major Races and Events
Major races hosted by Presque Isle Downs offer purses up to $400,000, drawing considerable attention from top competitors. The races with the biggest money are the Presque Isle Mile and the Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes, the latter of which is an officially graded event. Other significant races are the the HBPA Stakes and the Tom Ridge Stakes.
With a guaranteed minimum purse of $200,000, The Presque Isle Mile is one of the richest races at this track. This competition is for horses three years of age and older on the tapeta track and typically takes place late in the summer. The 2013 race was won by Hogy, the favourite partially due to his excellent record on synthetic surfaces.
Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes
The Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes has evolved into a Grade Two competition since 2007. This race is for fillies and mares three years and older at a length of 6.5 furlongs, featuring a purse of $400,000, which is the biggest at the track. Two horses have won this event back-to-back, with Informed Decision winning in 2009 and 2010 and Groupie Doll taking the title in 2012 and 2013.
Tom Ridge Stakes
Named after the former governor of Pennsylvania, the Tom Ridge Stakes has a purse of $100,000 and takes place on the tapeta. This race is for three-year old thoroughbreds at a distance of six furlongs on the synthetic surface. The record for the Tom Ridge Stakes is 1:08:42, set in 2010 by the redundantly-named Rockin’ Rockstar.
The Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association Stakes is one of the last events of the Presque Isle Downs race season. This event has a minimum purse of $100,000 and is for fillies and mares three years and older at a distance of one mile and seventy yards. Awesome Flower took the 2013 running of the HBPA Stakes, denying Primed for Passion of a fifth win out of five starts during 2013.