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Zipse At The Track

Summer Front moving in for the Peter Pan

A solid field of 12 sophomore males make up a very interesting Saturday afternoon feature at Belmont Park tomorrow in the Grade 2, $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes. There will be at least one scratch in the traditional steppingstone for the final leg of the Triple Crown, however, as we know Teeth of the Dog, and probably Zetterholm will sit it out to point for the Preakness. The favorite, and deservedly so, will be the Brereton Jones owned and Larry Jones trained, Mark Valeski. Narrowly defeated in his first two attempts around two turns, the son of Proud Citizen enters the Peter Pan in fine fettle after consecutive strong performances in the Grade 2 Risen Star and the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby. He recently skipped the Kentucky Derby to instead find something a little easier. Mission accomplished, but this 1 1/8 mile affair is far from a pushover. 
A number of promising candidates lie in waiting to upset the New Orleans shipper in hopes of making a statement over the track in advance of the Belmont Stakes. The one that most interests me will be the attractive bay colt, Summer Front. The son of War Front lost his last start when second in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes over Keeneland’s synthetic main track, but still brings a sterling record into the Peter Pan. The Christophe Clement trainee won his first three career starts, each of which was on the turf, including two stakes, before finishing strongly to beat all but All Squared Away in the Lexington, despite coming in off a four-month layoff. His generally reserved trainer is outwardly positive about the young star.
“I’m excited about him,” Clement said. “He’s been training very well and he looks very well. I’ve got a small question mark because I’ve never run him on dirt, that’s the big deal, but we’ve got to try him, and we’ll see what happens. It’s a good race, plenty of speed. As long as we get a good reading, that’s all I want – a good reading so we can decide what to do after that.”
It would seem the options are many. We already know, Summer Front is a potential star on the grass, but for now, the lure of big prizes on the dirt is too enticing to pass up. Not only does his pedigree promise to be the kind that can handle any surface, but Summer Front also turned an excellent six furlong work over the Belmont Park main track this past Sunday. Considering he was probably in need of the race last time, it’s hard not to appreciate the excellent record and consistent rally of the two-time stakes winner.
He is overlaid at 8-1 on the morning line, despite having arguably the most solid past performances in the field, and should appreciate the promise of a contested early pace to rally into. If he does indeed take to dirt like his breeding and latest workout suggest, the nine furlongs around only one-turn in the Peter Pan should suit him perfectly. 
Admittedly, Mark Valeski is the horse to beat tomorrow, but if you are looking to beat the favorite like I am, take a long look at Summer Front, he may just be a budding star.


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Older Comments about Summer Front moving in for the Peter Pan...

I like your pick in Summer Front. Mark Valeski looks tough, but I can see an upset in the making here with either Summer Front or Le Bernardin. I think the 9f is just a tad long for The Lumber Guy and Master Rick, but it will be a fun first 6 furlongs.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. 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. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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