SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Trainer Michael Stidham was far from discouraged by Mystic Guide’s second-place surface finish as the favourite in a first-level allowance contest June 4 at Belmont Park. Instead of seeking to run him back in the same condition, Stidham has opted to perform Mystic Guide in Thursday’s Level 3, $100,000 Peter Pan Stakes on Saratoga’s 10-race opening-day card.
The 1 1/8-mile Peter Pan, traditionally run the next weekend in-may as a prep for the Belmont Stakes, has been moved to Saratoga for this meet and may be utilized as a stepping-stone to the Class 1 Travers on Aug. 8. The Peter Pan offers 85 qualifying details to its top four finishers (50-20-10-5) toward the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby.
In his previous out, Mystic Guide was beaten five lengths by TAP It to Win, who got loose on the lead and came within .54 a second of the Belmont track record for 1 1/16 miles. Mystic Guide outfinished Country Grammer by 1 1/4 measures for second.
“I loved just how my horses finished and the way he galloped out in that competition,” Stidham said. “It offered me all the self-confidence another going the mile and an eighth. We were pondering Blue Lawn, Haskell, or this competition. I sensed like Saratoga will help my horses along with his style. That’s why we find the Peter Skillet.”
Stidham was discussing Mystic Guide’s closing style, which he things works with Saratoga’s surface and the anticipated fast tempo circumstance, with Celtic Striker, success of the two-horse Easy Goer Stakes, and Modernist in the field.
Modernist is 1 of 2 horses in this field to get won at 1 1/8 a long way, having done so in a maiden contest at Aqueduct in January and a section of the Risen Legend Stakes at Fair Grounds in February. After a third-place surface finish in the Louisiana Derby, Modernist was a non-threatening seventh behind Tiz the Law in the Belmont Stakes, this year run at 1 1/8 miles.
At Belmont, 1 1/8 kilometers is run around one move, whereas at Saratoga it’s run around two changes.
“I can’t explain the previous,” said Mott, trainer of Modernist. “I assume you have to say it’s somewhat in his favour going back to two changes because he’s won two-turn races before, although a mile and an eighth is a mile and an eighth.”
Country Grammer won a 1 1/8-mile maiden contest at Aqueduct last November. Since then, he has completed fifth in the Class 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream and was third behind Mystic Guide in the June 4 allowance. Trainer Chad Dark brown doesn’t believe Country Grammer looked after the Belmont surface.
“When he got from Belmont the equine appeared to be far better,” Dark brown said.
Chestertown, a $2 million New York-bred son of Tapit, done second in a statebred allowance on June 11. Trainer Steve Asmussen said he’s adding blinkers to his equipment for the Peter Panto help him “run direct.”
CANDY Tycoon, a well-beaten second in the Fountain of Youth, is returning from a two-month layoff for Todd Pletcher. Caracaro hasn’t run since earning a maiden contest in January at Gulfstream