Deterministic headlines talented group in G3 Peter Pan
Stakes Advance
May 8, 2024
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Deterministic headlines talented group in G3 Peter Pan

by Keith McCalmont

Grade 3 Gotham-winner Deterministic will look to make amends for his off-the-board effort in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Peter Pan, a nine-furlong test for sophomores, at Belmont at the Big A.

The Peter Pan is the traditional prep for the Grade 1, $2 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets, which will be contested at a distance of 10-furlongs at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday, June 8 as part of the four-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival. NYRA will waive the entry and starting fees to the Belmont Stakes, excluding the supplemental fee, for the first three finishers of the Peter Pan.

The Peter Pan is slated as Race 6 on Saturday’s 11-race card which also features the Grade 2, $400,000 Man o’ War in Race 7, the Grade 3, $175,000 Runhappy in Race 4 and the rescheduled Grade 3, $175,000 Beaugay in Race 2. First post is 12:35 p.m. Eastern.

Last year, Arcangelo won the Peter Pan en route to Grade 1 victories in the Belmont Stakes and the Spa’s Travers to secure year-end honors as Champion 3-Year-Old Colt. Arcangelo joined Counterpoint [1951], High Gun [1954], Gallant Man [1957], Cavan [1958], Coastal [1979], Danzig Connection [1986], A.P. Indy [1992] and Tonalist [2014] as Peter Pan winners to subsequently score in the Belmont Stakes.

Christophe Clement, who completed the Peter Pan-Belmont Stakes double with Tonalist, will send out St. Elias Stable, Ken Langone, C. Steven Duncker and Vicarage Stable’s Deterministic [post 7, Joel Rosario, 123 pounds], who flashed potential at first asking in August at Saratoga by overcoming a slow start and rallying to a half-length score in a seven-furlong maiden tilt.

The Liam’s Map colt required time off for an ankle chip surgery and subsequently wintered at Payson Park training center in Florida where he breezed extensively, including with eventual Group 2-placed Pandagate, ahead of his victorious return from a seven-month layoff on March 2 in the Grade 3 Gotham here.

With regular pilot Joel Rosario up in the one-turn mile Gotham, Deterministic stalked from third position through a swift three-quarters in 1:10.94 over the sloppy and sealed track. He rallied wide through the turn and took aim at the leading El Grande O, surging to the front just before the sixteenth pole en route to a two-length victory over next-out Grade 1 Blue Grass runner-up Just a Touch in a final time of 1:36.37.

Last out, Deterministic went to post as the mutuel favorite in the nine-furlong Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino where he failed to threaten with an uncharacteristic eighth-place finish.

Deterministic posted a near-bullet half-mile work in 47.10 seconds in company on Saturday over the Belmont Park dirt training track.

“We were a little bit puzzled,” said Clement, regarding the Wood Memorial performance. “We did all sorts of tests. He came back and he's trained well. Saturday’s work was a spectacular work. He's had three works since the Wood.”

Both of Deterministic’s wins have come around one-turn. The Peter Pan, when held at Belmont Park, is also a one-turn event but with the race being conducted at Aqueduct on Saturday it will require the well-regarded colt to prove his mettle at two turns.

“That's a question mark,” admitted Clement. “Does he want to go a mile or a mile and an eighth? Unless you try them, you don’t know, but he's doing well.”

The $625,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase, bred in Kentucky by Hinkle Farms, is out of the winning Speightstown mare Giulio’s Jewel – his turf stakes-winning third dam, Amelia, produced graded stakes-winning turfers Rainha Da Bateria, Assateague and Kindergarden Kid.

Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher’s multiple graded stakes-placed New York-bred The Wine Steward [post 3, Luis Saez, 120 pounds] will look to breakthrough at the graded level after a pair of close runner-up efforts.

Trained by Mike Maker, the Vino Rosso bay won his first three starts sprinting led by a six-length debut romp against fellow state-breds last May at Belmont Park ahead of an open-company stakes win in the Bashford Manor in July at Ellis Park and a head score over multiple graded stakes-placed El Grande O in the state-bred Funny Cide presented by Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in August at the Spa.

The Wine Steward has made his last two starts around two-turns in graded company at Keeneland when second defeated a half-length by Locked in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity in October and completing the exacta last out when three-quarter lengths back of Encino in the Grade 3 Lexington in his first start from a six-month layoff.

Maker said the initial goal for The Wine Steward was to compete in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, but will now use the Peter Pan as a bridge to the Belmont Stakes – the third leg of racing’s Triple Crown.

"The Derby was the plan before we started but he had a couple setbacks through the winter, so it didn't quite pan out," Maker said. "He came out of the Lexington in great order and we're expecting a step forward in the Peter Pan."

Maker said The Wine Steward has handled the stretch out to two turns with aplomb.

"He always showed quality from Day One and we were just biding our time to stretch him out,” Maker said.

Maker selected the $340,000 OBS March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training purchase after watching the colt breeze an eighth of a mile in 10.2 seconds.

“He had a nice work and is a very attractive and athletic individual. He was one we had to have,” Maker said.

Bred by Sequel Thoroughbreds, Lakland Farm and Mark Toothaker, The Wine Steward is out of the To Honor and Serve mare Call to Service, a half-sister to graded stakes-winners Isotherm and Giant Game. He has banked $427,260 through a 5-3-2-0 record.

Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown will send out a pair of challengers in pursuit of his third Peter Pan win with Tuscan Gold [post 5, Flavien Prat, 118 pounds] and Unique Insight [post 2, Eric Cancel, 118 pounds].

William Lawrence, Walmac Farm and Stonestreet Stables’ Tuscan Gold graduated at second asking by 6 1/4-lengths when stretched out to 1 1/16-miles around two turns on January 31 at Gulfstream Park.

The Medaglia d’Oro colt followed with an impressive third in the 1 3/16-mile Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, overcoming post 10-of-11 to finish just 1 3/4-lengths back of Kentucky Derby fourth-place finisher Catching Freedom, who won by a neck over Derby eighth-place finisher Honor Marie.

The $600,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase is out of the graded stakes-winning Curlin mare Valadorna, who is a half-sister to the Brown-trained 2018 Grade 1 Champagne-winner Complexity.

Klaravich Stables’ Unique Insight, by Hall of Famer Gun Runner, found his stride in his last two outings when stretched out to nine furlongs at the Big A, breaking his maiden in February by 4 1/2-lengths and following last out with a frontrunning 1 1/4-length score over Corporate Power on April 12.

The $360,000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale purchase, a half-brother to New York-bred stakes-winner Drake’s Passage, is out of the graded stakes-placed Speightstown mare Raucous, who is a half-sister to Grade 2-winner Open Water.

Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher will send out Protective [post 1, Irad Ortiz, Jr., 118 pounds] and Antiquarian [post 6, John Velazquez, 118 pounds] in pursuit of a record-extending fifth win in this event following past success with Purge [2004], Sunriver [2006], Madefromlucky [2015] and Promise Keeper [2021].

Repole Stable’s Protective is still a maiden after three starts but has shown promise in each outing topped by a troubled-trip rush from 11th-of-12 to finish third last out in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial.

The Medaglia d’Oro colt finished a close second to eventual multiple stakes-winner Valentine Candy on debut in July at the Spa and followed by crossing the wire third in a two-turn route at Tampa Bay Downs in March before being disqualified and placed fourth for drifting out.

The $250,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase is out of the multiple graded stakes-winning Empire Maker mare Grace Hall, who won the 2011 Grade 1 Spinaway en route to a runner-up effort in that year’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Centennial Farms, who won this event in 2016 with Unified, will be represented by Antiquarian, a chestnut son of their 2019 Grade 1 Woodward-winner Preservationist. The $250,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase debuted with a close runner-up effort to Conquest Warrior in January at Gulfstream. He followed with a prominent maiden win on February 17 traveling 1 1/16-miles over sloppy and sealed footing to best next-out winner Cornishman by one length.

Antiquarian arrives from a sixth-place finish in the Louisiana Derby where he broke through the gate before the start. He is out of the winning Istan mare Lifetime Memory, who is a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Speaktomeofsummer and stakes-winner Proud Reunion.

Rounding out a talented field are Cheyenne Stable’s Native Land [post 8, Junior Alvarado, 118 pounds], who arrives on a two-race win streak for trainer Riley Mott; and Lonesome Boy [post 4, Adam Bowman, 120 pounds], trained by Hugo Padilla for owner John E. Parker, a last-out fourth in the Wood Memorial and cross-entered in Saturday’s Long Branch at Monmouth Park.

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