June 23, 2024

Antiquarian Belmont-bound off Peter Pan win; Joey Freshwater prevails in Runhappy

Antiquarian appears headed to the Belmont (G1) following a victory in the Peter Pan (G3) at Aqueduct (Photo by Coglianese Photography / Credit to Jpe Labozzetta)

One of two dirt stakes on Saturday’s Belmont at Aqueduct program, the $200,000 Peter Pan (G2) has served as a traditional local prep for the $2 million Belmont (G1) four weeks later, and Antiquarian is likely bound for the final leg of the Triple Crown after scoring by three-quarters of a length.

“That’s what we were thinking coming into this and he certainly earned his way in today if everything goes smoothly,” trainer Todd Pletcher said of the Belmont, which will be contested over 1 1/4 miles at Saratoga this year due to Belmont’s renovation. “We haven’t decided exactly what we’re going to do with everyone yet, but Fierceness has settled in well at Saratoga and seems to have come out of the Derby in good shape. We’ll train with that (the Belmont) in mind.”

Antiquarian rallied past The Wine Steward in deep stretch to score by three-quarters of a length with John Velazquez, registering his first stakes triumph. A maiden scorer two starts previously, Antiquarian was exiting a sixth in his stakes debut, the March 24 Louisiana Derby (G2), and Centennial Farms owns the son of first-year sire Preservationist.

“I was expecting a big effort from him,” Velazquez said. “He was a little spotty, but I know he can keep going that pace the whole way around. He won very nicely.”

Antiquarian stalked in third as Unique Insight established opening splits in :23.95, :47.96, and 1:11.62, and The Wine Steward advanced to the lead nearing the completion of the far turn. Antiquarian swung wide into the lane and eventually wore down the 6-5 favorite, completing 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.99 as the 5.90-1 third choice.

“We had a horrible trip (last time) – he hit the gate really bad and dragged me for a sixteenth of a mile, then we broke slow and got squeezed a little bit,” Velazquez said. “We went wide at the three-eighths pole – that was a rough trip for him. Today, everything was clean.”

The Wine Steward held second by about a length over Protective, and Unique Insight, 5-2 second choice Deterministic, and Native Land completed the order of finish.

Bred in Kentucky by Brereton Jones, Antiquarian sold for $250,000 as a yearling at the 2022 Keeneland September sale. He’s the first foal to race from the Istan mare Lifetime Memory, who hails from the Grade 3-winning Silver Reunion and counts Grade 2 scorer Speaktomeofsummer and stakes winner Proud Reunion as half-siblings.

Antiquarian finished a close second when making his opening his career in a Gulfstream maiden special weight in mid-January, and the chestnut broke his maiden on the Risen Star (G2) undercard at Fair Grounds a month later.

The $169,750 Runhappy (G3) for sprinters was also offered on the undercard and Winning Move Stable’s Joey Freshwater proved best in the six-furlong test. The four-year-old colt overhauled odds-on favorite Straight No Chaser in the stretch and withstood the late bid of Ninetyprcentmaddie by a neck, stopping the teletimer in 1:09.41.

Jose Lezcano was up for Linda Rice.

Joey Freshwater left the starting gate as the 2.90-1 second choice among five runners. Ninetyprcentmaddie rallied from last, winding up more than two lengths clear of Twenty Four Mamba in third. Next came Straight No Chaser, who established the early pace in his first start since a romping win in the Maryland Sprint (G3) on last year’s Preakness (G1) undercard, and Durante came next in last.

Haltered for a $50,000 tag from a maiden claiming event the second time out late in his two-year-old season, Joey Freshwater finished third in the Jimmy Winkfield at Aqueduct two starts later and earned his first stakes win in the seven-furlong Bay Shore (G3) in the spring of 2023. He placed in two more stakes during his sophomore season and opened this year versus allowance/optional claiming rivals at Aqueduct, winning two of three starts including a 3 3/4-length triumph on April 6.

The Kentucky-bred has now earned $480,780 from a 16-6-2-2 record.