Saratoga: The GIII, $100,000 Peter Pan at 1 1/8 miles (Kentucky Derby qualifying points: 50-20-10-5)
by Brian Nadeau
Brian handicaps at Capital OTB and Horseplayer Now, and he’ll offer analysis and selections of Derby points races, hoping to make us all a little money as we head to the Belmont Stakes. Follow him on Twitter here.
We kick off the Saratoga meet–a meet without fans–with Belmont Park’s GIII Peter Pan, which is awarding the winner 50 qualifying points for the September 5 Kentucky Derby; somewhere Rod Serling is having one hell of a laugh. Godolphin may have lost heavyweight Maxfield, but they have a potential future star in #6 MYSTIC GUIDE (5-2) waiting in the wings, as this beautifully-bred son of Ghostzapper tipped his hand in his MSW win at Fair Grounds and was a no-chance second on a speed track to Tapit to Win at Belmont last time, but now looks poised to breakthrough for Stidham. It hasn’t been much of a Triple Crown season so far for Pletcher but #5 CANDY TYCOON (5-1) was a fine second to Rushie (third in last Saturday’s GII Blue Grass at Keeneland) in an AOC at Oaklawn Park when last seen May 2, and this son of Twirling Candy should trip out nicely from just off the pace. A January 20 layoff is a big worry for the lightly raced #7 CARACARO (6-1), who faces winners, too, but his talent is evident, as this son of Uncle Mo aired in his MSW win for Delgado, and if he clears early, he could get brave, off a sterling worktab, too. There’s little doubt the class relief from the Belmont Stakes will help #3 MODERNIST (7-2), but that dismal seventh was a disappointment all the same, so while it’s a good sign to see Mott forge on, the worry is this son of Uncle Mo isn’t quite as good as the two FG runs this winter showed, so he needs to wake up in a hurry here to be a factor.
#6 Mystic Guide
#5 Candy Tycoon