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Belmont Stakes 2014 Contenders: Matterhorn

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The second of two Belmont Stakes entries trained by Todd Pletcher, Matterhorn finished fourth in his only other Graded stakes race - the Peter Pan at Belmont back on May 10th.

Let's see... Commissioner? Check. Matterhorn? Check."
Let's see... Commissioner? Check. Matterhorn? Check."
Andy Lyons

2014 Peter Pan Stakes

Matterhorn

Matterhorn-silks_medium

Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Joe Bravo
Sire: Tapit
Damsire: Roy (Winter Garden)

Record: 4-1-0-1
Earnings: $62,102

Notable Races: G2-Peter Pan (4th)

Strengths

Matterhorn looked decent breaking his maiden last November and, yeah, that's about all I got. His effort in the Peter Pan wasn't awful (4th of 7), but it wasn't good. I suppose the best thing I can write is that he's by the hottest stallion in the game right now, Tapit, and perhaps he's on the verge of putting it all together and unleashing a career-defining performance, because that's what he needs to do to win this race.

Weaknesses

After breaking his maiden back on November 16, Matterhorn has finished 10th (beaten 18 ¾ lengths), 3rd (beaten 6 ½ lengths), and 4th (beaten 6 ¼ lengths) in his next three starts. I'm not sure what we're supposed to glean out of those recent efforts to lead us to the conclusion that this colt is ready to go out and win a Grade 1 race against the likes of California Chrome, Ride On Curlin, Samraat, Wicked Strong, and other horses with a lot greater accomplishments.

There are several colts just like Matterhorn in this field - all seemingly outmatched and outclassed - and one or two are likely to put forth a strong effort on Saturday. Figuring out which one is ready for that big effort is the hard part. Perhaps this son of Tapit is ready to break out with a big effort. Perhaps not.

Final Thoughts

I find myself writing this line a lot with these contenders profiles but it's just the truth: it's hard to envision this colt winning the Belmont unless a) he runs the absolute race of his life, and b) about five or six horses that are clearly better than him all run clunkers. It's possible. It's not probable.

Matterhorn is in the group of Belmont contenders that are in something I'm calling the "Long Shot Grab Bag": start pulling out names and sticking them in various exotics plays and hope for something crazy to happen. I'll give this guy a bit more of the benefit of the doubt just based on his pedigree but that's about it.