Saturday’s Peter Pan Stakes has drawn a wide-open field of 11 contenders, who look to prep for a possible run in next month’s Belmont Stakes. The 1 1/8-mile affair on Elmont’s dirt has betting odds makers favoring No. 5 Abraham with a 7/2 morning line, while No. 8 Declan’s Warrior and No. 10 Incognito follow closely at 4/1 and 5/1, respectively.
Abraham failed to hit the board in last month’s Illinois Derby, fading to fourth place despite reaching career-high speed. Trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez last united for a Peter Pan Stakes win in 2004, with Purge coming out on top.
Declan’s Warrior has won 3-of-4 starts, with the most recent triumph coming in April’s Bay Shore Stakes at Aqueduct. Nick Zito’s colt keeps rider Jose Lezcano, who closed last month’s seven-furlong win with a move from fifth to first in the stretch.
Incognito steps up for his first stakes affair, following two straight victories at one mile. The son of former Peter Pan winner A.P. Indy (1992) brings hot connections in trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and jockey Michael Luzzi, who have opened Belmont’s meet with 3-for-11 and 4-for-17 marks, respectively.
No. 7 Saint Vigeur (6/1) and No. 3 Battier (8/1) round out the contest’s top five challengers. Saint Vigeur came away with a 1 1/8-mile win last month in Aqueduct’s mud, while keeping rider Javier Castellano (12-for-43) here. Battier has notched four victories in his last five outings, switching jockeys for this spot to Kentucky Derby winner Joel Rosario.
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Freedom Child, Go Get the Basil look for ‘home dog’ upsets
No. 1 Freedom Child (12/1) and No. 9 Go Get the Basil (20/1) hope to surprise the field, representing the NYRA circuit for this affair. Freedom Child logged a dismal last-place finish in Aqueduct’s Wood Memorial, bringing a 1-for-5 mark here. Go Get the Basil finished two spots above his rival in eighth, following three wins in his four prior starts.
Trainer Bill Mott ships in No. 2 My Name Is Michael, following a seventh-place flop in Keeneland’s Blue Grass Stakes. The 10/1 shot brings a bloodline of distance runners Holy Bull and Macho Uno to this battle, while Mott looks for his first Peter Pan win.
No. 4 Fear the Kitten and No. 11 Infinite Magic are both listed at 12/1, also heading east from Keeneland’s stage. Fear the Kitten closed from eighth to fifth in the Blue Grass for trainer Michael Maker, who has started Belmont’s meet with a promising 4-for-7 clip. Infinite Magic switches to dirt here after a 1 1/16-mile turf win at the allowance level.
No. 6 Navarez (15/1) is the battle’s final long shot, making his first start in the northeast after spending most of his campaign at Gulfstream and Calder. Jockey Cornelio Velasquez gets the call here, hitting the board in 15 of his meet’s first 42 mounts.
Selections: Incognito, Infinite Magic, Go Get the Basil
Saturday’s clash is Race No. 9 on Belmont Park’s card, with an expected post time of 5:17 p.m. (ET). The weather forecast in Elmont calls for a 60-percent chance of showers, with 18 mph winds.
I am backing Incognito as my top choice in the race, while also spreading a few of my sports picks on long shots Infinite Magic and Go Get the Basil.
Incognito reached career-high speed in last month’s win, holding his own on an off track. Luzzi has been aboard for all five starts, which have prepped McLaughlin’s challenger well with them all at one mile or more.
Infinite Magic has shown some solid promise as a distance runner, while keeping two-time Peter Pan winner Edgar Prado mounted here. Last month’s victory moved the colt to three wins in five starts, with several coming in challenging spots across the pond.
Go Get the Basil is the affair’s darkest horse, but could hit the board here at some long odds. Jockey Irad Ortiz has finished in the money with 32-of-64 starts, while the long shot has reached the winner’s circle twice on off tracks.