Arrived in Nebraska without incident and am ready to kick things back into high gear with selections for the Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday. This race is used as a prep for the Belmont Stakes to be run in four weeks time. There will likely be some "new shooters" out of this race for the Belmont to challenge Animal Kingdom, who will hopefully be chasing history in the Belmont. Of course, he would have to add the Preakness Stakes to his Kentucky Derby triumph next Saturday. So, without any further ado, here is the analysis:
My top pick will be #6 Alternation, who had to scratch out of the Rebel at Oaklawn Park with starting gate issues and then started badly in the Arkansas Derby before finishing a closing fifth. He has been working quite well since the Arkansas Derby with back-to-back bullets at Arlington at five and six furlongs, respectively. Ramon Dominguez will ride for trainer Donnie Von Hemel. I called my second pick to a victory in the Turf Paradise Derby on February 26 and that is #3 Beer Meister. He is a stone closer and there should be plenty of pace for him to run at in this one. He caught a hopelessly wide trip in the Sunland Derby on March 27 and still rallied to finish a strong fifth. His 20-1 morning line price makes him a very attractive longshot in this race and he could definitely get a piece of it. For third, I will use Charles Cella's #2 Uncle Brent. Of course, Cella is the man at Oaklawn Park and that is where this horse has raced exclusively until Saturday. Uncle Brent has two wins and a second in three lifetime efforts in Arkansas and will have the riding services of the Derby winner, John Velazquez. As I referred to earlier, I believe there is quite a bit of pace in this race and I will use one of the speedsters, #10 Joe Vann, to round out of the top four. He was a front-running winner of the Illinois Derby at Hawthorne on April 9 and is currently working a three-race win streak. I just think he might have too many challenges up top to sustain any bid once the closers get in gear. He should be good enough, though, to hang on for a chunk of the action. Here is the play for the Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes:
$5 WP #6
$1 EX BOX 2-3-6-10
$1 TRI 3-6 with 2-3-6 with 2-3-4-6-9-10-11
We continue to take it on the chin after the Derby and now the blog is MINUS $418 for the year. However, we will persevere. Remember, They Are Off accepts no responsibility for any wagers placed in conjunction with these selections. They are merely suggestions.
I must pass along belated congratulations to Lone Star Park announcer, John Lies, who became the first "voice" to successfully pick the winner of the Kentucky Derby as part of "What The Voices Think". Unfortunately, I continue the oh-fer streak that has gone on since Go For Gin in 1994. Tune in again next week for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!