The Peter Pan Stakes, a GIII contest for 3YO from Belmont Park, is the focus this week. We step back from last week’s 10 furlongs in the Kentucky Derby to a more manageable 9 furlongs–the distance of the Derby final preps. A field of 7 will assemble at 6:18 Eastern Time — some with some very interesting and intriguing resumes on tap.
The race begins with Core Beliefs, who breaks from the inside, and will likely be the favorite. He finished third in the GI Santa Anita Derby, 9 1/2 lengths behind eventual Kentucky Derby winner, Justify. The Santa Anita Derby is at the same distance as today’s race and his Beyer speed figure in that race is best in the field. Zing Zang was an also-ran in Blue Grass Stakes, Rebel, and Southwest. He should find the waters much less deep today, but he hasn’t yet shown the speed needed to win at this level. Just Whistle is a fast maiden winner trained by Michael Matz. This horse might have a bright future, but this may be too much too soon.
Blended Citizen was the last one out for the Kentucky Derby. He won the GIII Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway and finished a decent 5th behind Good magic in the Blue Grass. With today’s race at the Blue Grass distance and the GIII win under his belt, he should be well-regarded. I expect the 6-1 price to drop. Diamond King adds Javier Castellano after winning the Federico Tesio from Laurel. He also ran well in the Swale, a Gulfstream sprint back in February. He’d need to improve, but the second start off the layoff should bring (at least some) improvement. UPDATE: Diamond King will scratch and run in the Preakness. High North ran the second fastest Beyer Speed Figure in the field. He did so while winning the Northern Spur, run on the undercard of Arkansas Derby day. He wasn’t very good against the top of the division in the Rebel, but he’s likely to find his level today. Both Gotta Go and Transistor — new to the Rudy Rodriguez barn — are likely too slow to compete today. Gotta Go ran well in the Swale, but has been on a downward trend since then. Transistor’s best run was a second-place finish in a Florida-bred allowance at Gulfstream.
Analysis: Core Beliefs will likely be a short price, but both Blended Citizen and High North may offer a bit more value. I’d include the 3 of them as part of the excellent all-stakes Belmont late Pick-4 ticket.