Down to the Wire: Peter Pan S. & Lazaro Barrera S.

5/10/2014 Belmont Park Race 9: G2 Peter Pan S. (9f): Tonalist
We return to find some of the three-year-olds who we had seen earlier on the the road to the Kentucky Derby in this Belmont Stakes prep. I expect Our Caravan to get some play here off of his big win over Ring Weekend in the Calder Derby, but that performance looks much better on paper than it does on video, so I highly suggest you watch that replay before you play him. Regardless, he ran in both the Holy Bull and Fountain of Youth and was completely outclassed in each. I don't want any part of him here. I got a chance to see Commissioner in person at Sunland, where he finished third behind Chitu and Midnight Hawk. This Pletcher -trained son of A.P. Indy always runs his race, but unfortunately that performance is often too slow to compete with the big boys. Fabulous Kid certainly looks to have the pedigree to stay the distance and he's interesting on the stretch-out after being nailed late in his last start. Tapicero is very interesting coming off of two straight big performances at Calder. He's been penned the longest shot on the board according to the morning line in what will be his graded stakes debut, but I would gladly take him over the two I've already mentioned. This son of Tapit is definitely the value in this race. Ultimately, however, I think it'll be tough to beat one of the other Tapits in here, Tonalist, who we most recently saw run second in the salty allowance optional claimer on Fountain of Youth day, which was won by Constitution and in which Wicked Strong finished fourth -- both of them, of course, went on to win major Kentucky Derby preps in their next start. Tonalist was slated to run in the Wood Memorial, but didn't make the trip to New York after he fell ill. The only concern would be that he enters here short on works, but Clement has never been one to force the issue, so there's no doubt in my mind he's fit and ready to roll.  
Exacta: #4 Tonalist / #2 Fabulous Kid, #5 Tapicero

5/10/2014 Santa Anita Race 7: G3 Lazaro Barrera (7f): Kobe's Back
Despite a propensity to break very slowly from the gate, Kobe's Back is certainly the class of this field and after a tough trip last time out at Aqueduct, he returns to California, where he hopes to get back on track. His lone graded stakes win came over course and distance. His toughest competition will likely come from Ferocious, who had a nice win over Chelios over course and distance last month. This lightly raced son of Tale of the Cat has won two of three starts and has never finished worse than second. Chelios looked to be a nice prospect following his impressive maiden victory, but after being sidelined after injury, he could do no better than second behind Ferocious. Gary Stevens, who rode him in his lone victory, does get the mount here, however. Puppy Manners makes his debut on the dirt after struggling to compete at this level on the all weather and turf. The move is a perplexing one for a son of top turf sire Kitten's Joy. 

Weekend Quick Picks:

5/11/2014 Belmont Park Race 9: G1 Man o'War S. (11f, turf): Grandeur
In four US starts (all of which came in graded stakes), Grandeur has only finished worse than second once and that was after a nightmarish trip in the G1 Arlington Million, after which he came up lame,, as well. This is actually a pretty nice field with the likes of Frac Daddy, Real Solution, Lucayan, and Amira's Prince making the field, but simply put, Grandeur has faced tougher. My only worry would be that rain is in the immediate forecast, although not on Sunday, and Grandeur would certainly prefer firm turf. He does have one win at Goodwood over good to soft ground though. Look for him to be flying late. 

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