Sarah Sis thwarts Living the Life by a head in Presque Isle Masters

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September 20th, 2016

Under a well-judged ride by Florent Geroux, Sarah Sis controlled the pace throughout in Monday evening’s $400,600 Presque Isle Downs Masters (G2) and just lasted from two-time defending champion Living the Life. The Ingrid Mason trainee negotiated 6 1/2 furlongs on the Tapeta in 1:16.42 to earn her sixth career (and fifth graded) stakes victory.

Although a synthetic aficionado herself, Sarah Sis was overlooked at 10-1 – a gauge of just how competitive the Masters field was on paper. The Arlington shipper had scored a front-running win in the June 25 Chicago H. (G3) on her home Polytrack, where she’d also romped in her debut as a juvenile and finished second in the 2014 Arlington-Washington Lassie.

Sarah Sis had disappointed in her last two at Saratoga, when up the track in the July 27 Honorable Miss (G2) and August 27 Ballerina (G1), but there’s precedent for her to come roaring back from bad losses before. And so it proved again here on a track she enjoyed.

Quick into stride from post 10, Sarah Sis had no trouble in scampering to the front through an opening quarter in :23.89. Unbridled Courage and Disco Barbie attended without applying serious pressure, and Sarah Sis was well in her comfort zone at the half in :46.66. The leader gave her pursuers the slip in the stretch, opening up two lengths at the decisive juncture.

Meanwhile, Living the Life, who had been nestled just off the pace, was muscling her way between foes. There wasn’t a great deal of scrimmaging, but bumping in tight confines may have cost her a fraction too much time. Once free and clear, she gained ground fast, only the wire came too soon. If Living the Life was unlucky, Sarah Sis was all heart to hang on by a head.

Bar of Gold was in an unfavorable position when racing far back early, and spun out seven wide for the drive, yet was beaten about a half-length in third. This was a most encouraging synthetic debut, and she’s worth watching in her next try on a similar surface.

Birdatthewire, the lukewarm 7-2 favorite over Living the Life, chased the pace and made a bold move on the far turn before fading to eighth. Unbridled Courage was ninth and Disco Barbie was last of 11.

Owned by Joe Ragsdale, Sarah Sis scored her first stakes wins on dirt in last season’s Honeybee (G3) at Oaklawn, the Panthers S. and Iowa Oaks (G3) at Prairie Meadows, and the Raven Run (G2) at Keeneland.

Mason indicated in the post-race interview that Sarah Sis will return to Keeneland and point for a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In,” presumably the October 8 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2).

The four-year-old daughter of Sharp Humor has compiled a mark of 21-8-4-0, $911,000.