We take a break in the Triple Crown action this weekend, with the $1 million Preakness Stakes (G1) a week away, but Saturday’s $200,000 Peter Pan (G2) at Belmont Park is very likely to produce a couple of starters for the $1 million Belmont Stakes (G1) in four weeks.
The Peter Pan drew a dozen three-year-olds who will go 1 1/8 miles on the main track at Belmont Park, but by the time they load them into the gate the field could be down to ten.
The chance of that happening increased on Friday morning as the connections of Dullahan announced they will skip the Preakness and go in the Belmont Stakes.
The Dale Romans trained Dullahan made a good late rally to finish third in the Run for the Roses and figured to be one of the top betting choices in the Preakness. The colt won the Blue Grass (G1) at Keeneland in his final Kentucky Derby prep.
The head of Donegal Racing Jerry Crawford told the Des Moines Register yesterday, “We’re trying to be fair to the horse, number one. Secondly, it will be a full field of 14 horses in the Preakness, and none of us were too thrilled about the possibility of traffic problems again.”
“We looked at the genetics, and horses like Dullahan seem to fare better at Belmont than Pimlico. It’s a better surface for him,” Crawford added.
Even if Teeth and the Dog and Zetterholm scratch out of the Peter Pan, the race still leaves a competitive field of ten, looking to use the race as a steppingstone to the final jewel of the Triple Crown in four weeks.
Let’s head out to New York for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Belmont Park Race 9 The Peter Pan (G2) Post time 5:06 ET
- Summer Front 8-1
- Mark Valeski 5-2
- The Lumber Guy 7-2
- Le Bernardin 15-1
Summer Front is coming off a good effort in a runner up finish in the Lexington (G2) which was his first go off a four month layoff. The colt was caught in tight quarters in the early going, came with a good five wide move to get into the mix and could not get to 78-1 longshot All Squared Away late. The colt was perfect in three starts as a juvenile including winning the King Cugat and Dania Beach, both on turf. Now he tries the main track for the first time here for the Christophe Clement barn. The colt is by War Front out of the a El Prado are that has dropped a couple of winners including stakes winner Laragh ($582K) who did her best work on turf but did win a couple of races on the main track. The barn is 21% winners with horse making their second start off a 45-180 day layoff.
Mark Valeski skipped the Kentucky Derby and now shows up here as the likely short priced favorite. The colt put in two solid efforts at Fair Grounds, a nose loss in the Risen Star (G2) to El Padrino and a runner up finish to longshot Hero of order in the Louisiana Derby (G2) in his last outing. He drilled a bullet work over the main track here on May 7 and looks to be coming into this race very sharp. The colt is going be tough here but the price is going to end up on the light side.
The Lumber Guy took the field gate to wire to win the Jerome (G3) last out going a one turn mile. The colt has won three of his four career starts, the lone loss coming in a fifth place finish in the Wood Memorial (G1). There is some other speed in here he is going to have to contend with, namely Right to Vote on the rail who looks quicker early. The colt does appear to have enough pedigree to handle the extra furlong. He is a half to stakes winner Bold Deed, who was fifth in this race last year.
WIN: Summer Front to win at 4-1 or better.
EXACTA: 5,11 / 2,4,5,11
TRIFECTA: 5,11 / 2,4,5,11 / 2,4,5,7,11
Michael Dempsey provides his selections for Belmont Park and Churchill Downs each racing day. Mike’s Best Plays Report is available each weekend, with his strongest plays and selections including the top stakes races.
Michael’s Report includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire Preakness Day card.
Michael is a Maryland bred who cut his teeth on the Pimlico backstretch as a horse owner, handicapper, and gambler on the Maryland circuit for decades.
The second jewel of the Triple Crown will be run on Saturday May 19 at Pimlico. The big day of racing has five supporting stakes including the $150,000 Gallorette Handicap and the $100,000 Allare Dupont Distaff Stakes.