OK, let’s try this again. Last week I did not use the Derby winner in my wagers because I wasn’t totally convinced that he could handle the dirt. Yes, even with a very good work on it. It is always a judgment call, and again, if I had been at Churchill to witness the work myself, I may have done things differently. But we can’t be everywhere all the time, so it can be a guessing game.
In my attempt to not get beat AGAIN by a turf/synth horse going to the dirt, my pick for the Grade 2 Peter Pan at Belmont is….Newsdad.
Here is a nice colt by Arch who seems to be steadily improving. His last try in the Blue Grass, was a good one. He was down inside for most of the race, behind a slow pace, showing lots of energy, with nowhere to go. When he finally swung out, he was cut off momentarily and then dove inside still searching for some running room, but by then, it was too late. He finished a respectable 4th, a length behind the winner Brilliant Speed.
Newsdad’s only attempt on dirt was his first race where he seemed unprepared for the start and broke very slowly. He had a nice little middle move, and then flattened out. I am going to guess that that dirt try was a learning experience with a bad start and not an indication that he didn’t like the surface.
His dam’s side is the turf influence, but you cannot ignore his daddy Arch, who continues to give us a good many top dirt winners.
He is dropping 7 pounds from the Blue Grass, and is picking up Alan Garcia. The distance will not be a problem for him, as it may be for others in here that have never gone this far. This colt has been closing into some slow pace scenarios, so with more pace in the Peter Pan, the race could set up better for him.
Newsdad and Alternation are the only 2 coming out of Grade 1’s, and though the Arkansas Derby may prove to be more formful than the Blue Grass down the line, Alternation did get beat almost 6 lengths.
Other contenders…It is interesting that Kentucky Derby winning jockey John Velasquez has taken the call on Uncle Brent as he probably could have ridden Joe Vann, if he wanted to. And was the flashy last out Beyer from Adios Charlie because of the sloppy track, or is he the real deal? Is he more than just a mud loving sprinter that carried his speed a little farther because of the wet track? And Prime Cut was originally eyeing the Preakness, but his connections chose this “softer” spot.
Lots of questions here, but I am giving Newsdad a chance to prove he can win a big one on the dirt in the Peter Pan.