There is only one race to be run on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. The final prep race of the circuit, the Pegasus Stakes, will take place at Monmouth next Saturday. Following that race, there will be no more opportunities to accumulate points towards the Kentucky Derby. Art Collector was able to grab the last big score of 50 points yesterday in the Ellis Park Derby. Tiz the Law, who didn’t need more points, but grabbed 100 points for the fun of it. And oh, took the top prize out of a $1,000,000 purse in the Travers. Art Collector showed on Sunday that he may not be going away quietly on Labor Day Weekend, though.
Presque Isle Downs is holding an eight-race card late in the afternoon and into the evening on Monday. There is a total of $208,000 available in purse money, so it’s a pretty big day for the racetrack in Erie, Pennsylvania. The $75,000 Tom Ridge Stakes is the only stakes race in the world today. We will take a look at three races that hope to return us a profit on Monday. Head below for our free Presque Isle Downs picks for August 10, 2020.
Post Time: 5:10 p.m. EST
Distance: 5 ½ Furlongs
We’ll get going at Presque Isle Downs with Race 2, which is a $18,000 event covering 5 ½ furlongs. Midnight Punk and Victory Element should offer a competitive race in the stretch. Victory Element is 3 for 13 in his career and is coming off a strong performance on July 5 at Ellis Park. He won by 4 ¾ lengths over Town Drunk in a $10,000 event.
Prior to that event, Victory Element finished 7th, 3rd, 9th, 11th. Before his win a month ago, his most recent victory was on January 25 at Oaklawn Park in a $31,000 event. That win notched back-to-back wins for Victory Element after a $36,000 win on November 24, 2019 as well. If Victory Element is in that form, then this should be an easy win for him.
There wouldn’t be another competitor to deal with, but we haven’t seen Victory Element run like that since the start of the year. Eight months later, maybe Victory Element gets his act together and gets going. While he did win his latest race, that was not a difficult $10,000 event. He should expect to have to work harder to get back to the winner’s circle.
Midnight Punk has been a winner 13 times in his career. He has been a consistent runner during his 13 for 31 career. Midnight Punk has won or placed in 7 of his previous 9 entries. In his previous four outings, Midnight Punk has gone 1st, 1st, 9th, 2nd.
He finished 2nd on July 27 in his most recent race, losing a close one by ¾ lengths against Fox Rox as the favorite. He has been quick in morning workouts with recorded times of 47 seconds in back-to-back assignments at 4 furlongs. Midnight Punk has a good opportunity to get back in the winner’s circle with this outing on Monday.
Post Time: 6:00 p.m. EST
Race 4 is our next stop at Presque Isle Downs on Monday. There will be 12 horses scheduled for this mile race on the all weather track. The Drake and Mike Mike are on my shortlist, with both horses expected to give a strong effort in Erie today. Mike Mike has finished 4th, 5th, 5th, 6th in his previous four races and is winless in 13 career races.
That doesn’t look like shortlist material, but Mike Mike is getting bumped down in class today again and should benefit from an easier assignment. That said, Mike Mike was down in class to a $12,000 race on July 27 in his most recent outing and didn’t respond. He finished 6th as the betting favorite, so a lot more was expected out of him. If Mike Mike shows up and runs like he’s capable of, there is a chance that he can get to the winner’s circle, though. Mike Mike has placed just once in his 13-race career, so he might need to catch a break as well.
The Drake will provide the stiffest test for Mike Mike and the rest of the field. The Drake is 0 for 5 in his career with finishes of 7th, 3rd, 6th, 10th, 4th. That doesn’t look great, but he is receiving a sizable class drop after finishing 4th in a $21,000 event on July 20 at Indiana Grand. Prior to that, The Drake was running in a $35,000 event at Churchill Downs. His best performance was on August 16, 2019 at Laurel Park in a $40,000 race. The Drake showed to get into the money and earn some of the money out of the purse. This looks like a winnable assignment for The Drake on Monday.
Race 5 – Tom Ridge Stakes
Post Time: 4:50 p.m. EST
The Tom Ridge Stakes is the only stakes race taking place in North America and around the world today. It isn’t much for a $75,000 purse, but to the connections of these horses, it’s certainly a big day. The Tom Ridge Stakes will cover 6 furlongs on the all weather track at Presque Isle Downs.
Liberate and Skol Factor are on my shortlist, with an honorable mention to Guildsman from the No. 2 post position, though I was disappointed in his 5th place performance in the Sir Cat Stakes on June 19. Nevertheless, he is still a talented horse that can put up a fight in the stretch.
Skol Factor is feeling confident after going 2 for 4 to open his career. He is coming off a win a month ago on July 11 at Delaware Park. Skol Factor edged out Cyril’s Boy by 1 ¼ lengths. They were co-favorites, so the race played out as expected, with Skol Factor and Cyril’s Boy dueling in the stretch. That event was for a $42,000 purse.
Prior to that effort, Skol Factor finished 8th in a $41,000 race on June 17. In his biggest win to date, Skol Factor won as a sophomore runner on April 11 by 6 ½ lengths over League of Legends for a $60,000 purse. Skol Factor proved that day he’s capable of running in a stakes event. However, Liberate has a lot more experience running and winning in these types of races.
Liberate is 5 for 8 in his career, and has already competed in five stakes races. He has wins in the $75,000 Hoover Stakes (Black Type), $75,000 Cleveland Kindergarten Stakes (Black Type), and $150,000 Juvenile Stakes (Black Type). His win in the Juvenile Stakes is his best win to date, as he cleared Authentic Cowtown in a 7 ¾ length blowout. He also has a maiden and allowance win in his career so far.
In his most recent performance, Liberate was foiled by Chief Randel by 2 ¾ lengths in the Daniel Stearns Cleveland Gold Cup (Black Type) on June 27. Since then, Liberate had a very impressive workout on July 29 with a time of 46.60 seconds at 4 furlongs. This should be a competitive race in the stretch, with Liberate having a good chance of edging the field out at the wire.