September 29, 2022

Blended Citizen among eight in Peter Pan

Blended Citizen earned his first stakes win taking the Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park (Coady Photography)

The $350,000 Peter Pan (G3) at Belmont Park serves as a local prep for the final leg of the Triple Crown, the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on June 9. In 2014, Tonalist derailed the Triple Crown bid of California Chrome when completing a Peter Pan-Belmont Stakes sweep.

Eight horses were entered for Saturday’s 1 1/8-mile test including Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) winner Blended Citizen, who missed the Kentucky Derby when failing to draw in from the also-eligibles list. By Proud Citizen, the Doug O’Neill-trained colt exits a fifth to Good Magic in the Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland and retains the services Kylie Frey for his first New York appearance.

Core Beliefs is another top draw following a well-beaten third to subsequent Kentucky Derby winner Justify in the Santa Anita Derby (G1). A maiden winner two back, the Quality Road colt out-finished Instilled Regard by 1 ¼ lengths for third last time and was flattered when that rival came back with a fourth in the Kentucky Derby. Core Beliefs will make his initial outing outside of California and Tyler Baze keeps the mount for Peter Eurton.

Federico Tesio winner Diamond King, who is under serious consideration for the Preakness on May 17, would enter on the upswing for connections following a win in the Federico Tesio at Laurel Park. Jason Servis conditions the hard-trying Quality Road colt and Javier Castellano will take over the reins if Diamond King runs.

High North merits respect after a 2 ½-length score in the Northern Spur on the Arkansas Derby (G1) undercard. He appears to be hitting his best stride presently for Brad Cox, easily registering a career-best 97 BRIS Speed rating last time, and Florent Geroux sticks with the improving son of Midnight Lute.

Just Whistle faces a class check following a convincing maiden tally at Keeneland for Michael Matz. Gotta Go, Transistor and Zing Zang all have stakes experience but need to show more to be competitive here.

The Peter Pan is one of three stakes on Belmont’s main track Saturday.

The $200,000 Vagrancy H. (G3), a 6 ½-furlong event for fillies and mares, features a rematch between Holiday Disguise and Sounds Delicious, the respective 1-2 finishers in the April 6 Distaff H. (G3) at Aqueduct. They highlight a field of six.

Six older males will square off in the $150,000 Runhappy at 6-furlongs. Tom Fool (G3) scorer Skyler’s Scramjet figures to compete for favoritism after a fourth in the April 7 Carter H. (G1). Westwood, who reeled off back-to-back allowance wins before grudgingly giving way to be a close fifth in the April 7 Commonwealth (G3), rates as another logical contender.