A new shooter to the Triple Crown, Peter Pan (G3) romper We the People looks like the one to catch in Saturday’s $1.5 million Belmont (G1), and the projected pacesetter has been pegged as the 2-1 morning line favorite among eight rivals.
His main rivals in the 1 1/2-mile “Test of the Champion” include Wood Memorial (G2) victor Mo Donegal and Kentucky Derby (G1) upsetter Rich Strike, the respective 5-2 second and 7-2 third choices on the Belmont morning line.
|We the People
|Brian Hernandez Jr.
|Irad Ortiz Jr.
We the People opened his racing career this winter with a pair of convincing two-turn wins over maiden special weight and entry-level allowance competition at Oaklawn Park. Off as the 5-2 second choice in the Arkansas Derby (G1), the son of Constitution was washy in the post parade and didn’t appreciate being rated for the first time, weakening to finish a well-beaten seventh.
The Rodolphe Brisset-trained colt rebounded stylishly from his lone setback, rolling wire-to-wire in the 1 1/8-mile Peter Pan at Belmont Park on May 14, and We the People garnered a career-best 108 Brisnet Speed rating for the 10-length decision. Flavien Prat retains the assignment.
Mo Donegal has won his last three starts in New York, breaking his maiden at Belmont last fall and recording stakes wins in the Remsen (G2) and Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. The fast-finishing bay colt defeated subsequent Preakness (G1) victor Early Voting in the latter, but Mo Donegal broke slowly in the Kentucky Derby and needlessly swung extremely wide from a favorable inside spot on the far turn, closing boldly for fifth after losing a lot of ground.
Conditioned by three-time Belmont winner Todd Pletcher, Mo Donegal can race closer to the pace than he showed last time, and Irad Ortiz Jr. will be back up on the dangerous stalker.
Rich Strike appears to be training forwardly since his 80-1 shocker in the first leg of the Triple Crown, easily working five furlongs in a bullet at Churchill Downs last Monday, and the chestnut colt will look to carry his improved form forward to the Belmont. From the first crop of Keen Ice, Rich Strike can be classified as a confirmed closer, and he’s shown a preference for inside trips in the last two outings. Sonny Leon will guide for Eric Reed.
Creative Minister, third when making his stakes debut in the Preakness, comes next on the Belmont morning line at 6-1. Brian Hernandez Jr. has the call for Kenny McPeek. Nest, who reeled off three consecutive stakes victories before finishing second as the Kentucky Oaks (G1) favorite, will try males for the first time. Listed at 8-1, the Pletcher trainee adds the services Jose Ortiz.
Arkansas Derby runner-up Barber Road, a rallying sixth in the Kentucky Derby, has a new rider in Joel Rosario. The John Ortiz-trained gray colt, the early 10-1 sixth choice, owns five stakes placings. A pair of 20-1 outsiders, Golden Glider and Skippylongstocking, complete the field.