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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Finally, it’s Alternation!

“My top dark horse right now. Breeding is great, and I love the way he looks down the stretch of his races. Acid test should come in the Rebel.”
I wrote those words regarding Alternation back in February. Ever since, I’ve been waiting for that horse, at the time I considered to be a major threat to surprise and run big in the Kentucky Derby, to make a good run. He never made it to the Kentucky Derby, but nearly three months later, today was finally the day for that good run.
Making a sustained and powerful rally on the outside, the son of Distorted Humor circled horses on the turn and ran down the determined favorite, Adios Charlie, in the final strides of the Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes this afternoon at Belmont Park.
The win, his 4th in 6 lifetime starts, marks the first stakes victory for the Donnie Von Hemel trained chestnut, and it follows a rather bumpy Derby trail for the promising youngster.
The Rebel Stakes was supposed to be his initial foray into stakes racing. It instead almost turned disastrous. Entering the Oaklawn Park starting gate was the closest he would get to running. The starting gate can sometimes be a scary place for a hot-blooded thoroughbred, and Alternation made that fact a scary reality. A full-fledged freak-out caused him to flip in the starting gate. Thankfully he escaped the situation without major injuries.
Sporting only scrapes and bruises, he was deemed ready in time to make his stakes debut in the million dollar Arkansas Derby a few weeks later. A tough spot to make his stakes debut for sure, but his connections obviously had faith in their charge. That day he broke out of the gate slowly and was well behind in last for a big chunk of the race. He did flash his talent to make a solid rally, but it would only carry him from 13th to 5th at the finish. With a few good works at my home track of Arlington Park in the interim, the Peter Pan looked like a good spot for his continued maturation. And so it was.
Today Alternation rated well off moderate early fractions after stumbling slightly at the start. As Adios Charlie spurted clear of the pacesetters early in the lane, it was clear that only one horse had a chance to catch him, and catch him Alternation would. Under a well-timed ride by Ramon Dominguez, he needed every inch of his powerful rally to hit the wire just ahead of the still strong Adios Charlie. The two left the rest of the deep field well behind, with Prime Cut proving third best. The time for the one-turn, nine furlong test was 1:49.53, and the winner paid $9.40 to his happy backers.
What’s next for the grandson of Seattle Slew? The third and final leg of racing’s Triple Crown would be the obvious answer. Off today’s performance, you would have to say Alternation earned a berth into next month’s Belmont Stakes. Yes, I still like him.

 

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Older Comments about Finally, it’s Alternation!...

Nothing, I don't know much about them. I'm questioning the fact that the "So Called" horse racing press never asks the top trainers tough questions. Why don't you ask, "Mr Pletcher, can you explain why the average horse in South America and Austrailia gets over 20 starts a year and the average horse in America gets less than 10?"
his breed is great and he Lokks like a phonomanal specien of the spices but if Animal Kindom hits the preakness....Iso want to see a TC winner!!
Nothing, I don't know much about them. I'm questioning the fact that the "So Called" horse racing press never asks the top trainers tough questions. Why don't you ask, "Mr Pletcher, can you explain why the average horse in South America and Austrailia gets over 20 starts a year and the average horse in America gets less than 10?"
Brian, I know you loved Rachel and Mo, but the KY Derby winner had NO American breeding because Barry Irwin didn't want the drugged up mommy and the drugged up daddy to have a crack foal. Irwin and Graham Motion along with John Sherriffs are the good guys in this sport. Yet you keep supporting horses coming out of the Pletcher and Assmussen barns. Pletch and Assman have destroyed our sport due to drugs. Look at the form reversals their horses have had: Rachel, Life At Ten, Quality Road, Uncle Mo. I checked the past performances of horses racing in South America and I found one horse that started 42 times last year. Many others started 20-40 times last year. In our country we reward drugs with Horse and Trainer of the Year titles. MAKES ME SICK!
Mark, I am a fan of all horses ... and what does your statement have to do with the Donnie Von Hemel trained Alternation???
Brian, I know you loved Rachel and Mo, but the KY Derby winner had NO American breeding because Barry Irwin didn't want the drugged up mommy and the drugged up daddy to have a crack foal. Irwin and Graham Motion along with John Sherriffs are the good guys in this sport. Yet you keep supporting horses coming out of the Pletcher and Assmussen barns. Pletch and Assman have destroyed our sport due to drugs. Look at the form reversals their horses have had: Rachel, Life At Ten, Quality Road, Uncle Mo. I checked the past performances of horses racing in South America and I found one horse that started 42 times last year. Many others started 20-40 times last year. In our country we reward drugs with Horse and Trainer of the Year titles. MAKES ME SICK!
I thought for sure Adios Charlie was on his way to a comfortable win when he kicked away but Alternation proved very game. Great race, best Peter Pan I've seen since I started following.
I thought Adios Charlie was going to kick away for a second, then Alternation seemed to hit aother gear and just keep grinding.
If he is in the Belmont, I certainly give him a shot, but they might bring him back to Chicago instead.
I still liked him today and for the Belmont coming up He was in my derby fantasy stable and allthough that didn't go so well I aways thought there was a big race coming as he matured

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing since birth. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 
  
As Managing Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Brian also serves on the the Board of Directors of ReRun Thoroughbred Adoption and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
  
A graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives in Suburban Chicago with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra, where he is a professional golf instructor when he is not following the horses.