Race of the Day, May 10, 2014
Belmont Park, Elmont, New York, Race 9, “The Peter Pan Stakes”
1 1/8 miles, 3 years old, G2, Purse: $200K
Named for Peter Pan I, the 1907 winner of the Belmont Stakes and a Hall of Famer, today’s race of the day is the Peter Pan Stakes. A very quick bit of research didn’t answer whether he was named for Peter Pan, the literary character ofJ.M. Berrie. The non-equine Peter Pan was first mentioned in 1902, so…maybe.
Aside from the name, the Peter Pan is for high class three-year olds who did not develop in time for the Derby, but are ready to begin tackling classic distances. It serves—somewhat—as a prep for the Belmont Stakes in 4 weeks, although it often is a springboard for a run at the Late Summer classics, whether the Travers or the slew of lower-level Grade II Derbies. However, it stills stands on its one as an important race. It’s a GII and it’s a long distance — 1 1/8 miles. Interestingly, it is a one-turn race — Belmont’s massive configuration only makes this possible.
On paper, this is a nice group, but one that is nonetheless missing a standout. There’s lots of potential, though. Matterhorn (#1, 6-1) cost $625K, but hasn’t run that fast yet. He won a first asking, had a nice workout, and has solid gold connections. Making his stakes debut, he’d either need to improve — a possibility for sure — or have the rest of the race come back to him. Commissioner (#3, 5/2) was on the Derby trail and fell short. This son of A.P. Indy (my top sire) would need to continue to run as he has to be a contender. If he figures out racing a bit, he could win big and come back for the Belmont Stakes. Both Tonalist (#4, 2-1) and Our Caravan (#6, 6-1) have run fast enough to win — Our Caravan is a bit more of an outsider due to his connections and breeding. This is silly noise. In fact, our Caravan may offer a bit of value here — Michael Dilger is a very solid trainer with positive ROI’s in many categories. Fabulous Kid (#2, 4-1) was sharp at Oaklawn over the winter. It’s questionable whether he’ll appreciate the longer distance, but he looms a threat with on the one-turn course.
- Will the highly talented, royally bred Commissioner figure it out and put up a huge speed figure today?
- Will the public respect Our Caravan’s speed last time out, or will he be a price?
- Will Fabulous Kid get an easy lead and coast home to an unchallenged win?
There is no clear cut favorite on paper. In fact, you can only really eliminate Tapicero (#5, 20-1) and Irish You Well (#7, 15-1), who aren’t that far away from the leaders. Our Caravan improved with the added distance and horses often ship well out of Calder (it’s a very tiring track). He among the fatest and might offer a price. Commissioner is the only horse that I could see moving way forward, but I don’t expect him to be very much of a price. If you love him, he still could be value for you at 5/2 or even 2/1. Good luck!
Tonalist made an aggressive early move to the front and pulled away in the stretch. Connections immediately began their preparations for the Belmont Stakes. But, we need to take this victory with a grain of salt. The track was very wet, and the competition really didn’t show up. Commissioner ran well in 2nd, but Our Caravan did not like the track or isn’t at this level. Irish You Well finished third at a price, and may be improving.