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PETER PAN STAKES PREVIEW

Today's Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes will go a one-turn mile and an eighth on the main track at Belmont Park.  Post time is slated for 5:17 Eastern (2:17 Pacific).  Below is a look at the field for today's race.

1-Isn't He Perfect (30/1): Fifth in the G2-Jerome and G1-Wood his last two starts and 6th in the G3-Gotham four back.  He's tried this level several times this spring and has yet to seriously challenge for the win. Doubtful.

2-Uncle Brent (4/1): Solid efforts in Arkansas and he's a half-length shy of being a perfect 3-for-3 in his career.  He's won by stalking the pace and by hanging back in the early going so he appears to be versatile enough to adapt to different pace scenarios.  This will be the toughest field he's faced to date, but I doubt owner Charles Cella would be sending him all the way from Oaklawn if he didn't think he could run big.

3-Beer Meister (20/1): Loves to close from way back and he should get some pace to run at in this spot.  He came from over 20 lengths back to win the Turf Paradise Derby in late Feb. followed by an even performance in the Sunland Derby.  I'm not sure a one-turn race is really the best fit for this gelding.

4-Prime Cut (9/2): Finished a length and a half behind Derby Kitten in the G3-Lexington after running some good races against OC/Allowance competition at the Fair Grounds.  He likes to run up front but he doesn't appear to have a strong turn of foot in the early stages and may find himself a bit farther back that he's used to.

5-Tap Attack (50/1): He's been facing New York-breds since the day he stepped on the track last year (11 races) and by far his best effort was his last race when he finished 2nd by a neck in the state-bred Packett's Landing Stakes at Aqueduct on April 10th.  This is a big class test for this colt.

6-Alternation (6/1): He ripped off three straight wins after stretching out to a two-turn mile in his second career start.  The Arkansas Derby didn't really work out like he had hoped but that race was obviously a tough one and was validated by Nehro's strong second to Animal Kingdom in the Derby last Saturday.  My only concern with Alternation is the switch back to a one-turn race in this spot as he seems to run well at two-turns.  Still, he's a top contender for the win.

7-Bold Deed (20/1): This gelding will make his first start outside of the New York-bred ranks in the Peter Pan and he's probably going to try and get out front in the early stages.  He came home awfully slow in his last effort (26.35) and I'm not sure he really wants another 1/8th of a mile tacked on to the end if he tries to serve as the pacesetter.  Tough spot.

8-Adios Charlie (3/1): He looked very good winning the G2-Jerome on April 23rd and this will be his longest race to-date, a route of ground that should be well within his ability.  Preakness-bound Astrology finished second in the Jerome so we might be able to use this race as a bit of a barometer for how he might perform next Saturday.  A strong effort by Adios Charlie and perhaps Astrology warrants some additional looks.  If Adios Charlie flops, we might be able to toss Astrology right here and now.

9-Newsdad (8/1): His last four races have all been on turf or synthetic where he has run credibly each and every time out of the gate.  His lone dirt try in his debut last Nov. was simply awful - 6th place, 21 ¼ lengths back of the winner. Perhaps that was due to first start issues; he'll need to show he can handle the surface before you can give him a big chance.

10-Joe Vann (5/1): Looked good winning the Illinois Derby against what appeared to be a pretty weak field.  He's got a decent amount of pace on the frontend and will likely be up front challenging from the lead in the early stages.  If he can hold his Hawthorne form or take a small step forward, he should be right with the top contenders.

11-Monzon (15/1): He ran a very nice race in the Count Fleet back on January 1st but didn't fare so well when stepping up to face graded company in the G3-Sam F. Davis down in Tampa.  His other attempt against graded competition came in the G3-Bourbon on the turf at Keeneland last fall where he finished a well-beaten 5th.  He has shown flashes of talent in the past, making him a tough gelding to toss in this spot.  At the same time, he's been off for a while and he'll come back to face a pretty competitive field...that might be asking a bit much from him at this time.

The Pick

Alternation is exiting the strongest race of any horse in the field - the Arkansas Derby - and he's displayed quality in the past, that alone makes him a top contender in this spot. I seriously doubt he'll be anywhere near 6/1 when they go to post, but if he is, jump all over that price.

I like Uncle Brent as a potential value play in this spot.  Like Alternation, I don't think his 4/1 ML will stay anywhere near those odds, although I think Uncle Brent's price will drift up while Alternation's will go down.  (I almost feel like the morning line maker got this two horses switched when he was making his odds.)  If he's anywhere around 5/1 or higher, I'll go the win route on Uncle Brent, as well as play him above and below Alternation an exacta, should the ‘will pays' suggest some value in that direction.