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Blog - GAMBLING

Declan's Warrior, above winning the Bay Shore Stakes, is the lone graded stakes winner in the field for the Peter Pan Stakes on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Adam Coglianese/NYRA)

By Ellis Starr – National Racing Analyst for Equibase

The 59th running of the Grade 2, $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes is an important prep race for the Belmont Stakes in four weeks, especially for those aspiring 3-year-olds that either ran poorly in prep races for the Kentucky Derby or weren’t physically or mentally mature enough to take a shot earlier in the year on the Derby trail. Among the field of 11, four horses enter the Peter Pan with two consecutive wins, foremost among that group being recent Grade 3 Bay Shore Stakes winner Declan’s Warrior. Incognito, Saint Vigeur and Infinite Magic each hope to win their third consecutive race while trying stakes races on the dirt for the first time. Fear the Kitten, who almost made it into the Derby but was 21st on the list of 20 able to run when entries were finalized, shows up in the Peter Pan following fifth-place finishes in both the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes and Horseshoe Cincinnati Spiral Stakes. Abraham followed up a third-place finish in the Sunland Derby with a fourth-place effort in the Illinois Derby and could be competitive in the Peter Pan. My Name is Michael (seventh in the Blue Grass), Go Get the Basil (eighth in the Wood Memorial Stakes) and Narvaez (seventh in the Illinois Derby) look to improve from their most recent races and show they belong at this level. Battier won the Fit to Fight Stakes in his most recent start after a runner-up effort in the Private Terms Stakes and is another who might be capable of stepping up his game to this level. Last but not least, Freedom Child won powerfully in March but following the win he ran in the Wood Memorial for purse money only (with all wagers refunded) after the assistant starter failed to release him at the same time the rest of the field broke from the gate.

Contenders:

Incognito has steadily improved since his career debut in December, advancing to a career-best 107 Equibase Speed Figure in his most recent victory on April 13. That victory came at the distance of a mile, run around one turn, so successfully navigating this 1 1/8-mile trip around one turn (that is unique to only a few tracks in North America) should be no problem. This is particularly true for Incognito because his sire (father) is 1992 Belmont Stakes winner A.P. Indy and his dam (mother) is Octave, who won the 2007 Mother Goose Stakes at this distance here at Belmont Park. With two recent exceptional morning workouts at Belmont in preparation for this race and with the best last-race speed figure to repeat or improve upon, Incognito gets top billing in the Peter Pan.

INCOGNITO (inside) WINNING MOST RECENT START

INCOGNITOHero -Coglianese

Photo courtesy of Adam Coglianese/NYRA

Declan’s Warrior is the only graded stakes winner in the field, having won the Bay Shore Stakes at Aqueduct last month. The 106 Equibase Speed Figure earned in that race is just about on par with how fast Incognito ran in his most recent effort, and Declan’s Warrior also is bred to have no trouble navigating the 1 1/8-mile distance of the Peter Pan, so running well enough to win would come as no surprise.

Infinite Magic won the Blue Square Handicap Stakes in England on Feb. 1, and then just over two months later made his North American debut and won an allowance race at Keeneland. In that race in April, Infinite Magic rallied from last of seven and won by a nose, earning a 101 Equibase Speed Figure that certainly has prospects of being improved upon in his second start in the states. The horse he beat by a nose in that race (Admiral Kitten) finished second last weekend in the American Turf Stakes and so a case can be made that Infinite Magic belongs at this level. As such, he rounds out my trio of top contenders in this year’s Peter Pan Stakes.

Both Saint Vigeur and Freedom Child deserve honorable mention. Saint Vigeur won on Feb. 9, earning a 101 Equibase Speed Figure, with Freedom Child finishing third that day in the same race. Saint Vigeur then came back on April 11 to win again, at the distance of the Peter Pan and in spite of having significant traffic trouble that might have caused other horses to give up. Freedom Child came out of the Feb. 9 race to win very well by five lengths on March 10 at this 1 1/8-mile distance. In his next start, the Wood Memorial on April 6 (won by then undefeated Verrazano), Freedom Child was denied a fair start when the assistant starter didn’t release him as the gate opened, resulting in his being declared as “running for purse money only” with all wagers on him refunded as if he never ran. Considering he earned a 97 Equibase Speed Figure on March 10 and still could improve nicely off that effort, Freedom Child is another that deserves respect when we consider who can run well in this race.  

The rest of the field (with their best representative Equibase Speed Figures):  Abraham (102), Battier (106), Fear the Kitten (94), Go Get the Basil (107), My Name is Michael (101) and Narvaez (93).

My Selections:

Incognito

Declan’s Warrior

Infinite Magic

$200,000 Peter Pan Stakes

Saturday, Belmont Park, Race 9, 5:17 p.m. ET

3-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles (dirt)

PP

Horse

Jockey

Weight

Trainer

1

Freedom Child 

L. Saez

116

T Albertrani 

2

My Name is Michael 

J. Alvarado

116

W I Mott

3

Battier 

J. Rosario

118

T A Pletcher

4

Fear the Kitten 

R. Maragh

116

M J Maker

5

Abraham 

J.R. Velazquez

116

T A Pletcher

6

Narvaez 

C.H. Velasquez

116

A C Bezara

7

Saint Vigeur 

J. Castellano

116

C C Brown

8

Declan's Warrior 

J. Lezcano

118

N P Zito

9

Go Get the Basil 

I. Ortiz Jr.

116

R A Violette Jr.

10

Incognito 

M.J. Luzzi

116

K P McLaughlin

11

Infinite Magic 

E.S. Prado

118

R Ribaudo

 

Image Description

Ellis Starr

National Racing Analyst for Equibase, Fan Education Specialist, Bettor, Magister of Equine Prognostication (Handicapper).

Image Description

Ellis Starr

National Racing Analyst for Equibase, Fan Education Specialist, Bettor, Magister of Equine Prognostication (Handicapper).

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