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Peter Pan Stakes Preview: Timeline Heads Belmont Stakes Prep

NYRA/Coglianese Photo

Unbeaten in two starts, Woodford Racing’s Timeline steps up to face graded stakes competition in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Peter Pan at Belmont Park, the traditional local prep to the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on June 10.

Initially purchased for $500,000 as a yearling at the Keeneland September Sale, the son of Hard Spun made his debut on March 4 at Gulfstream Park at 1 mile. He bested a field of 14 while traveling five-wide and surging late with a swift turn of foot. Following that impressive debut, he returned on April 6 at Aqueduct Racetrack in an allowance optional-claiming race, recording a Peter Pan field-high 101 Beyer Speed Figure over a sloppy main track, defeating seven foes while winning by 13 1/2 lengths.

“As a 2-year-old, he had to overcome some baby issues, so we had to send him to the farm and just wait on him,” said trainer Chad Brown. “The time off was probably well-spent because, since he’s come back, he’s been very sound and strong. He’s trained well all winter in Florida, so we were hoping he would get his career started off the right ,way and he sure did that. He’s had two great performances in his first two starts, so we couldn’t be happier with him.”

With his first two career starts and Saturday’s 1 1/8-mile Peter Pan all contested around one turn, Brown said he has little concerns for later stretching out the colt, looking past Saturday’s race.

“I think he’s a horse that wouldn’t have a problem stretching out to two turns, but I do like the progression from 1 mile to 1 mile and 1/8,” added Brown. “We’ll take each step forward at a time and stay around one turn one more time and see how he handles it before we tackle two-turn races.”

Top Choice

#2 Timeline – He showed heart and determination when winning a loaded maiden race on debut at Gulfstream Park. Then, in his second start, he showed TALENT and SPEED, always a deadly combination. That race was over a sloppy track, so that could’ve moved him up some, but mostly, I think that the improvement had to do with trainer Chad Brown not having him fully cranked on debut. Timeline has had hype ever since his winter workouts in South Florida, so there’s no doubt that he’s ready for stakes company. Hopefully, he can use this race as a springboard for the Belmont Stakes in four weeks.

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Horses to Use in Multi Race Wagers

#1 Master Plan – He fell just two horses shy of running in the Kentucky Derby and will use this race as a prep for the Belmont Stakes. The Peter Pan has been a major prep race over the years, so you have to like the plan. His connections say that this horse can run all day, and it certainly looked like it last time out in the UAE Derby when he was hitting his best stride late in the race. Speed figure-wise, he doesn’t match up with what Timeline did last out, but from a class standpoint, this horse towers over the field. He’s a must-use on your multi race tickets.

Exotic Plays

#3 Meantime – Just three races back, Patch beat him by only 1 3/4 lengths, and last time out, he was a blowout maiden special weight winner at Keeneland over a muddy track. Perhaps the muddy track moved this horse up a little, or maybe the light bulb turned on at the right time. Either way, the horse deserves a shot in the spot, but I don’t think he can match up with my top two picks.

Party Crashers

#4 Impressive Edge – He was entered in the Grade 1 Florida Derby off of a huge allowance win and didn’t run poorly, finishing fourth while beaten seven lengths by the eventual Kentucky Derby winner, Always Dreaming. He finds an easier spot here, which needed to happen, and his numbers match up very well with this group. I toyed with picking him on top, but his spotty form scared me away. Hopefully, he’ll be a decent price in here, as he really makes sense as a longer-priced play.

Throw Outs

#6 Take Your Guns – This recent maiden breaker at Keeneland gets thrown into a tough spot here. We’re going to see what he’s made of, but there’s no doubt that he improved greatly from race one to race two.

#5 Lookin At Blessing – He’s a loser of six straight races, many of which by double digits. He looks to be completely overmatched in this race.

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