Thursday, May 9, 2013
Hot List: Peter Pan Stakes
This weekend's race, Saturday, May 11
The Peter Pan, Belmont Park
The Peter Pan is traditionally considered a prep for the Belmont Stakes, but from the looks of this 11-horse field Orb has little to worry about from the horses in Saturday's race. Abraham is the 7-2 favorite but we're willing to take a stand against him, figuring the bottom of the trifecta is the ceiling for him in this mile and an eighth test. In the top spot, we'll try Declan's Warrior, who is the 4-1 second choice. The Nick Zito-trained colt has never raced beyond 7 ½ furlongs, but his late-running style and fast, razor-sharp effort in the Bay Shore paint him as the one to beat. Fear the Kitten was the bubble horse in the Kentucky Derby who didn't make the cut. He shows a second in the mud in the Southwest and with rain in Saturday's forecast for New York he's worth a close look at 12-1 odds. Incognito earned a spot on the Hot List's New York C List for taking late money in an allowance win over a good track and looks like an improving colt who should be a main contender in his stakes debut. Battier makes his debut for trainer Todd Pletcher and turned in a promising effort last time in the overnight Fit to Fight stakes. With the red-hot Joel Rosario in the saddle and a morning-line price of 8-1, he should be used in the exotics.
Last weekend's races
Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs
The pace may have been fast and a sloppy track may have compromised some horses' chances, but there's no disputing that Orb was the best horse on the first Saturday in May. The Florida Derby winner was in peak form after 5 weeks of training following his Florida Derby victory and despite a wide trip was a decisive winner over 18 rivals in the mile and a quarter Kentucky Derby. He was 17th after the first six furlongs then rallied into contention while 6 wide and was not fazed by the ground loss, taking charge in the final furlong and drawing off to a 2 ½-length win. His sparkling performance bodes well for an encore in Baltimore where he should be very tough to beat in the Preakness - if he can duplicate his last race. He will not be anywhere near the 5-1 he was at Churchill Downs, but he'll be our A List choice in the Preakness. In a 19-horse field it's a given there were a few troubled trips and the biggest victims were Normandy Invasion and Will Take Charge. Normandy Invasion, usually a stretch runner, this time made a four-wide move on the turn, running into the teeth of surprisingly fast fractions. He reached the front at the top of the stretch, but his premature move caught up with him in the final furlong as he weakened to fourth. Even with a perfect trip, beating Orb would have been a tall order. Yet he probably would have finished second with a more patient ride, earning him B List status for his next race, which could be the Preakness. Will Take Charge was eighth, finishing 12 ¼ lengths behind the victorious Orb. He was beaten by 18 lengths in his previous race in the slop, indicating he should improve on dry footing. He was also moving alongside Orb when he was checked at the top of the stretch in the Derby and never recovered. Given the possible upside on a fast track at long odds, we'll include him on the B List and hope he can add some value to either the triple or superfecta by grabbing a minor share of the purse at Pimlico.
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Hot List Key
A List: A preferred horse to watch
B List: Secondary horse to watch
*C List: Went down 2 or more betting notches and finished 1st through 3rd
*D List: Went down 2 or more betting notches and finished 4th or worse
* - 4 or more betting notches if 11-1 or more.
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