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Feature Race Analysis


  Peter Pan Stakes – Grade 2
  Race 9 at Belmont Park
  Saturday, May 11 – Post Time 5:17 PM E.T.
  One mile and one eighth, for three-year-olds
  Purse: $200,000


Peter Pan Perfect Belmont Stakes Prep for Many
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 to the Belmont Stakes in four weeks, especially for those aspiring three-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 Grade 1 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes and Grade 3 Horseshoe Cincinnati Spiral Stakes. Abraham followed up a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Sunland Derby with a fourth-place effort in the Grade 3 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 Grade 1 Wood Memorial) 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 non-graded Fit to Fight Stakes in his most recent start after a runner-up effort in the Private Terms Stakes and is another that 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 in the Wood Memorial ran 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 mile and one-eighth 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 figure to repeat or improve upon, Incognito gets top billing in the Peter Pan.


     Declan’s Warrior is the only graded stakes winner in the field, having won the Bay Shore Stakes at Aqueduct last month. The 106 Figure earned in that race is just about on par with how fast Incognito ran in his most recent effort and Declan’s Warrior is also bred to have no trouble navigating the nine furlong 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 February 1 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 on the wire, earning a 101 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 top trio of contenders in this year’s Peter Pan Stakes.


     Both Saint Vigeur and Freedom Child deserve honorable mention. Saint Vigeur won on February 9, earning a 101 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 February 9 race to win very well by five lengths on March 10 at this mile and one-eighth 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 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, is 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


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