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Adios Charlie Heads Competitive Peter Pan

With the first leg of the Triple Crown in the history books, a solid field of eleven 3-year-olds will assemble at Belmont Park Saturday for the 57th running of the Grade 2, $200,000 Peter Pan, a major steppingstone to the June 11 Belmont Stakes.


Returned to The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) calendar after a year’s hiatus, the 1 1/8-mile Peter Pan has attracted a pair of recent graded stakes winners in Adios Charlie, who picked up his second straight victory in the Grade 2 Jerome at Aqueduct Racetrack on April 23, and Joe Vann, who stretched his winning streak to three in the Grade 3 Illinois Derby on April 9.


Adios Charlie, who was second in his debut at Belmont last October, opened his sophomore campaign with a 6 ¾-length maiden score at Gulfstream Park on March 30, then impressed with a 2 ½ length upset of the Jerome over a sloppy track. The Indian Charlie colt, co-owned by trainer Stanley Hough and Robert Sahn, has breezed twice since the Jerome, going three furlongs in 36.14 on May 1 and five furlongs in 1:02.04 on May 8.


“He’s been training super,” said Lazaro Cruz, Hough’s assistant. “He ran huge in the Jerome and it didn’t seem as if it took much out of him; he’s done beautifully since then. We’re hoping he runs as well on Saturday.”


Rajiv Maragh rides Adios Charlie, the 3-1 morning-line favorite, from post position 8.


Joe Vann, a Silver Deputy colt owned by Zayat Stables and trained by Todd Pletcher, was winless in four starts as a 2-year-old, but since finishing seventh in his 2011 debut at Gulfstream Park has reeled off three successive scores with a combined winning margin of 13 ¾ lengths.


“I think we’re going to get a true check of how much confidence he’s generated,” said Pletcher, who won the Peter Pan in 2006 with Sunriver and in 2004 with Purge. “We were a little confused about some of his form. He had a disappointing race at Gulfstream [January 8] and then ran three terrific races. This will give us an idea of where he fits in the big picture.”


At 5-1 on the morning line, Joe Vann will leave from post position 10 under Javier Castellano, aboard for the first time.


Coming in from the Midwest is Donald K. Adam’s Prime Cut, most recently a close-up second to Derby Kitten in the Grade 3 Lexington at Keeneland on April 23. Originally a candidate for the May 14 Preakness, the Bernstein colt’s connections instead opted for the Peter Pan with an eye toward the 1 ½-mile Belmont.


“The Preakness has a big field with a lot of speed and the top horses from the Derby look tough coming right back and I don’t know if he’s ready for that,” said trainer Neil Howard. “If he runs in one of the (Triple Crown) races, we feel the Belmont would be the best for him.”


Prime Cut, the 9-2 third choice on the morning line, drew post position 4 with Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado in the irons.


Also shipping in will be the lightly raced Uncle Brent, a 1 ¾-length winner over Albergatti in the Northern Spur at Oaklawn Park on April 16. Trained by Lynn Whiting for Charles Cella, who purchased him following his successful debut at Oaklawn on February 2, Uncle Brent finished second as the 4-5 favorite in a one-mile allowance there on March 13 in his only other start.


“He’s done everything in fine fashion,” said Whiting, who saddled Lil E. Tee to win the 1992 Kentucky Derby. “This is a good time slot and a good opportunity for him. We think he’s got a forward move in him.”


John Velazquez, who won his first Derby last Saturday aboard Animal Kingdom, has the call on Uncle Brent, the morning-line second choice at 4-1, from post position 2.


Pin Oak Stable’s Alternation suffered his first defeat after a trio of victories when fifth after an awkward break in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, his first stakes appearance. Ramon Dominguez gets the call aboard Alternation, 6-1 on the morning line, from post position 6.


Rounding out the field are Newsdad, returning to conventional dirt after finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Blue Grass; New York-breds Bold Deed and Tap Attack, the first two finishers in the Packett’s Landing at Aqueduct on April 3; Count Fleet winner Monzon, fifth behind Brethren in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis in his most recent start on February 12; Beer Meister, fifth in the Grade 3 Sunland Derby on March 27, and Isn’t He Perfect, fifth in the Jerome in his most recent start.


The field for the Grade 2 Peter Pan:








Isn't He Perfect (KY)

J Rodriguez


D Shivmangal



Uncle Brent (KY)

J R Velazquez


L S Whiting



Beer Meister (KY)

A O Solis


M Ortiz, Sr.



Prime Cut (KY)

E S Prado


N J Howard



Tap Attack (NY)

E Castro


S M Schwartz



Alternation (KY)

R A Dominguez


D K Von Hemel



Bold Deed (NY)

C Hill


M E Hushion



Adios Charlie (FL)

R Maragh


S M Hough



Newsdad (KY)

A Garcia


W I Mott



Joe Vann (KY)

J Castellano


T A Pletcher



Monzon (MD)

J Lezcano


I Correas, IV




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There are some live longshots in here ... Beer Meister at 20-1 may be worth a pop, or two!

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