Saturday play: 1 horse can upset Bishops Bay in Peter Pan

Saturday play: 1 horse can upset Bishops Bay in Peter Pan
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Bishops Bay leads the Grade 3, $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont on Saturday as the expected favorite off his strong optional claiming and maiden wins at Fair Grounds. But he does not show a big enough advantage to concede the race to him, especially without prior graded stakes experience. Bettors are justified in searching for other options. 

Click here for Belmont Park entries and results.

When deciding to play a horse with no stakes experience in a graded stakes race, that runner needs to offer some extra positives to make the bet worthwhile. Preferably, the horse will offer a high speed figure and value odds as incentives for taking the risk on an unseasoned runner. 

Bishops Bay lacks value as the favorite at 8-5 odds or shorter. Given his popular connections of trainer Brad Cox and Spendthrift Farm, he could fall lower to the even money range. For those using TimeformUS or BRIS, Bishops Bay surprisingly also lacks a dominant speed figure.

One interesting alternative to Bishops Bay is Arcangelo, who owns the high speed figure on TimeformUS with a 118 and might offer value odds depending on how his odds appear during live wagering. He is 10-1 on the morning line and could fall a little lower than that. But in the favor of his backers, Arcangelo’s trainer Jena Antonucci is not that popular, which means he probably will not attract a crazy amount of wagering dollars. 

Arcangelo broke his maiden in his third career start, which came on March 18 at Gulfstream Park in a one-turn dirt mile. He began the race a touch slow, but soon found himself in the midst of the pack as the pacesetter Jonas’ Dream led by two lengths following moderate fractions of 23.17 and 45.55 seconds.

The overmatched Jonas’ Dream soon faded back to the pack. On the far turn, Magical Power took control of the lead with Mr McGregor battling him on the inside. Arcangelo ran in third and right behind Magical Power and Mr McGregor at this point before Javier Castellano took him outside.

Once outside of horses at the top of the stretch, Arcangelo made a seamless lead switch and easily went past Magical Power under mild urging at best. He then opened up on his rival and strode out nicely towards the wire. Arcangelo won the race by 3 1/2 lengths with the relatively big 118 on TimeformUS, although the speed figure on that brand might feel high to handicappers who do not make figures.

Forget about the number though. Just from a visual standpoint, Arcangelo gave the impression that he belongs in graded stakes races with the easy and fluid way he ran in the stretch. He only won by 3 1/2 lengths. But the feeling is that Arcangelo had plenty more run if he needed to run faster. The jockey only gave him some minor cues to go. 

Now Arcangelo needs to stretch out to nine furlongs. From a pedigree standpoint, he is supposed to love the stretch out. Arrogate progeny tend to love longer routes, as Arrogate himself came to life in important 1 1/4-mile races. such as the Travers Stakes (G1), Breeders' Cup Classic and Dubai World Cup. Also, Arcangelo’s third dam is Better Than Honour, which means his second dam Teeming is a half-sister to Belmont Stakes winners Rags to Riches and Jazil. On the top and bottom side, Arcangelo shows stamina. 

At 10-1, Arcangelo offers great value. But if he did slip down to 9-2 or 5-1, would that feel unfair? He does own the best TimeformUS Speed Figure.

Besides Bishops Bay and Arcangelo, Slip Mahoney and Classic Catch also can win based on their efforts in the Wood Memorial Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct.

Slip Mahoney found trouble heading into the first turn of the Wood Memorial. Initially, he ran in-between horses as part of a crowded group near the front, but he ended up getting bounced around and forced out. Slip Mahoney lost ground in the process and gave an even effort around the track to run sixth.

Classic Catch began the Wood Memorial too far back in 11th and 10 lengths behind at the half-mile point. To his credit, Classic Catch did make up significant ground late and ended up a credible fifth by 5 1/2 lengths.

Slip Mahoney can factor in the mix with a clean trip, while Classic Catch needs to settle closer to the lead rather than lag near the rear.

Arcangelo looks like the best horse to go with though.

If Arcangelo starts at 9-2 or longer, then playing him to win and place, or just to win, makes sense. Otherwise, multi-race wager players will want to consider the four horses listed above, with First Mission and Arcangelo the two priority options for bettors without room for more. 

Win-place: 1, at 9-2 or longer.


Meet Reinier Macatangay

My first time at the racetrack came as a 5-year-old kid at Santa Anita Park. For most of my younger life, that was the only track I attended other the occasional visit to Hollywood Park. 

Years later, after graduating California State University, Stanislaus with an English MA, I began writing for Lady and the Track. From late 2014-2016, my articles were seen on a weekly basis and covered handicapping, interviews with well-known racing personalities, fashion and more. 

The handicapping style I use concentrates on pace analysis. Some horses are compromised by the pace. Others are helped. Handicappers just starting out cannot easily see how pace affects the finish, so with this blog, I hope to help those unsure of how to apply pace into their handicapping and post-race analysis. 

On an unrelated note, I enjoy video games and attending anime or comic-book conventions. I am currently based in Kentucky, but spend a lot of time traveling between there and California.

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