Ghost Hunter seeks re­venge in Mile

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - Daily Racing Form - By Ni­cole Russo

Fa­mil­iar foes will face off Sun­day night in the $200,000 Presque Isle Mile, which has drawn last year’s one-two fin­ish­ers Gi­gan­tic Breeze and Ghost Hunter back to the track.

The Presque Isle Mile is one of two stakes at the Erie, Pa., track on the eve of its big­gest race, Mon­day’s Grade 2, $400,000 Presque Isle Mas­ters. Sun­day’s other stakes is the $100,000 Mrs. Henry D. Pax­son Me­mo­rial Stakes for Penn­syl­va­nia-bred 2-year-old fil­lies.

Gi­gan­tic Breeze de­feated Ghost Hunter by four lengths in last year’s Presque Isle Mile. Since then, their paths have di­verged. Gi­gan­tic Breeze went on to win the Grade 2 Au­tumn Stakes at Woodbine. He is win­less in three out­ings this year, but did fin­ish third in Woodbine’s Grade 2 Eclipse Stakes and, most re­cently, sec­ond in the Grade 3 Sea­gram Cup. He was de­feated in the lat­ter by wire-to-wire per­former Dec­o­rated Soldier, who was mak­ing his graded stakes de­but.

Dec­o­rated Soldier is well drawn for his run­ning style, land­ing in post 2 un­der Wil­lie Martinez for trainer Norm McKnight. Gi­gan­tic Breeze is drawn in post 4 for Alex McPher­son, with Mario Pino in the irons.

Vet­eran cam­paigner Ghost Hunter, who typ­i­cally sits mid­pack, but has the tac­ti­cal abil­ity to stalk at a closer spot if needed, breaks from the rail un­der An­to­nio Gal­lardo. The geld­ing comes into the Presque Isle Mile off two re­cent plac­ings at the track, fin­ish­ing sec­ond by a head in an op­tional-claim­ing event, and then third by a length in an al­lowance. Both those de­feats came at the hands of Nip­igon, who is mul­ti­ple stake­splaced at Woodbine and look­ing for his first stakes vic­tory in the Presque Isle Mile.

Ma­trooh won the Grade 3 Han­shin Cup in May at Ar­ling­ton Park and sub­se­quently fin­ished third, beaten four lengths, in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Hand­i­cap at Churchill Downs. He comes in off a third­place fin­ish in the Grade 3 West Vir­ginia Gover­nor’s Cup.

Pi­o­neer Spirit, a stakes win­ner in July at In­di­ana Grand in his most re­cent out­ing, ships in for the red-hot team of trainer Brad Cox and jockey Florent Ger­oux.

The Presque Isle Mile is pre­ceded by the Pax­son Me­mo­rial, in which the tem­per­a­men­tal Amy Farah Fowler, who is stakes-placed de­spite her green antics, will look to put things to­gether for a vic­tory for own­er­trainer Ron Potts.

Amy Farah Fowler ran off in the post pa­rade prior to her de­but May 21 at Presque Isle, then shied three times from a right-handed whip in the stretch run. Yet she still pow­ered clear to win by 5 1/4 lengths. In her sec­ond start July 5, Amy Farah Fowler broke free from her han­dlers in the pad­dock prior to the race, but again proved much the best to win the op­tion­al­claim­ing event by 8 3/4 lengths.

She then trav­eled to Mon­mouth for the Aug. 4 Colleen Stakes, where she fin­ished sec­ond to the promis­ing Mae Never No. Back home against fel­low Penn­syl­va­niabred ju­ve­niles in the $100,000 Mark McDer­mott Stakes ear­lier this month at Presque Isle, the filly first shied out from a left-handed whip, then bore in from right-handed urg­ing down the lane, fin­ish­ing sec­ond to un­beaten Delta Ex­press.

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