With the most controversial Kentucky Derby of all time in the books and with the Preakness happening next week we’ll be taking a look at the Peter Pan Stakes from Belmont Park this weekend. The Peter Pan is traditionally a prep for the Belmont Stakes which is about a month away. A nice little racing card on tap at Belmont. Let’s get cookin’!
Belmont Park – Race 1 – The Vagrancy Handicap (Grade 3)
The Vagrancy features the return of last year’s Grade 1 Test winner Separationofpowers for Chad Brown. She’s the morning line 7-5 favorite and based on the way Chad Brown’s horses are running right now, 7-5 would be great value. I like her at those odds despite the +180 day layoff.
Chad Brown wins at a 29% clip with returnees from long layoffs like these. The thing I like best about her is that she learned to rate. To me that makes her tough to beat here. Underneath I like Holiday Disguise to close in to complete the exacta and Pacific Gale rounds out the trifecta.
Belmont Park – Race 4 – The Peter Pan (Grade 3)
This year’s running of the Peter Pan came up with a short field that doesn’t look short on talent. The winner will likely be pointed to the Belmont Stakes on this track about a month from now. Our morning line favorites: Intrepid Heart (7-5) and Global Campaign (8-5) are both lightly raced and appear to prefer to race on the front end which is why I’m leaning towards Final Jeopardy and Sir Winston here at better prices.
The three inside horses prefer to speed off and in a one turn 1 1/8th race, I’ve seen many times where that sort of thing backfires. Especially with young horses like these. Final Jeopardy is trained by the man who was disqualified from winning last week’s Kentucky Derby for the same owners and I’d love to see them take this one from off the pace. Sir Winston is the other confirmed closer in the field and I wouldn’t be surprised if he pulls the upset.
Belmont Park – Race 7 – The Beaugay (Grade 3)
The Beaugay is typically a stepping stone for bigger and better races later on in the year and this year it drew an evenly matched field of 6 with two shipping from Europe. Our morning line favorite is Competitionofideas trained by Chad Brown. She hasn’t raced since winning the Grade 1 American Oaks at Santa Anita in late December and while she seems spotted well here, I’m going with her stablemate Homerique, coming off an even longer layoff to win this.
Homerique last raced in the Prix de l’Opera Longines which is a grade 1 race in France where she finished a nose behind Magic Wand. She’s placed in Grade 1 races in France twice and she seems like she’s got these beat on class alone. Competitionofideas will round out the exacta and Andina Del Sur for third.
Belmont Park – Race -10 – The Man O’ War (Grade 1)
This is probably the most fun race of the day. I’m hoping the weather holds up and there’s no rain in the forecast so nobody scratches because this race drew an evenly matched field of grade 1 runners. While there are many runners here with sexier resumes, I’m going with Arklow to spring the upset.
Arklow is actually a multiple stakes winner and earner of over $1 million on grass but compared to some others in this field he still gets overlooked. Last year he put together a nice little late summer/early fall campaign which culminated in a terrific 4th place finish in the Breeder’s Cup Turf. His first start back this year was a race where he tossed his rider and between that and his 4th place finish in the BC Turf, he’s likely to get overlooked and fits well with these. Trainer Brad Cox and jockey Florent Geroux win at a 28% rate.
I’m going all in on Arklow to spring the 8-1 upset. Focus Group is my second choice here for trainer Chad Brown. Focus Group has been one of my favorite horses to have watched develop. He closes from far back and will be rolling late. The filly, Magic Wand is likely to vie for favoritism with that one and she fits with these but not at a short price.