Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition
Weyburn taking Peter Pan route to Belmont Stakes
OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Weyburn, the Grade 3 Gotham winner and fourth-place finisher in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial, is being pointed to the Grade 3, $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park on May 8 as a stepping-stone to the Belmont Stakes on June 5, his connections said Monday.
Weyburn has enough qualifying points to make the Kentucky Derby field, but trainer Jimmy Jerkens and Robert Landry, the racing manager for Robert and Mark Krembil’s Chiefswood Racing, don’t believe that’s the right race for this horse.
“The right thing for the horse is to miss the Derby,” Landry said. “I think Jimmy and I are on the same page with that. I think this horse is going to mature a lot more. The family history is they get better with age.”
Weyburn is a son of Pioneerof the Nile and is a half-brother to Yorkton, a sprint stakes winner at ages 3, 4 and 5. Weyburn won his maiden sprinting on Dec. 5 at Aqueduct, but an illness and a foot abscess delayed his 3-year-old debut until the Gotham on March 5, when he beat Crowded Trade by a nose. In the Wood, Weyburn made the lead turning for home, but could not finish off the race, finishing three lengths behind 72-1 upset winner Bourbonic.
“Even when you put him into the drive, he’s still a little sloppy with his leads early into the drive,” Landry said.
Landry said the Peter PanBelmont route “has worked for quite a few horses.”
“I think people respect the Belmont a lot, especially for potentially going to the breeding shed,” he said.
Maracuja looks Oaks-bound
Maracuja ran well enough in the Grade 3 Gazelle to warrant consideration for the Kentucky Oaks, and trainer Rob Atras will let her convince him to take her there when she returns to the work tab later this week.
“Right now we’re planning on going, if things aren’t 100 percent with her then we won’t do it,” Atras said.
Atras is hoping to work Maracuja twice at Belmont Park before the Oaks, though some unsettled weather later this week is interfering with his schedule. The Belmont surfaces were both wet on Monday and rain is in the forecast Thursday and Friday.
Maracuja, a daughter of Honor Code, finished second to Search Results in the Gazelle, rallying from last of six under Kendrick Carmouche. She lost by 2 3/4 lengths while finishing nearly four lengths clear of thirdplace finisher Army Wife. It was Maracuja’s first start at 1 1/8 miles and two turns after three sprint starts, which produced one victory.
“I expected her to handle the distance, but moving from 6 1/2 to a mile and an eighth, you never know until you see them do it,” said Atras, who trains Maracuja for the Beach Haven Thoroughbreds of John Sakkos. “I was really happy with her, Kendrick was really happy with her, too. I think she took a big step forward. We thought she might be able to get to that level. I didn’t think she’d get there quite so fast.”
Maracuja earned an 89 Beyer Speed Figure for her runnerup performance in the Gazelle, which puts her in the mix of the contenders for what is shaping up to be a very competitive Kentucky Oaks.
Horologist eyes duPont Distaff
Horologist, who returned from a five-month layoff to win Saturday’s $100,000 Top Flight Invitational at Aqueduct, could make her next start in the Grade 3, $150,000 Allaire duPont Distaff at Pimlico on May 14, trainer Bill Mott said Monday.
“I haven’t connected with all the connections yet, but that’s a good spot, timing-wise,” Mott said.
The duPont, like the Top Flight, is run at 1 1/8 miles around two turns.
As for her comeback performance, Horologist was in control of the race from the outset, stalking the pacesetting Mrs. Danvers and taking over just before the midstretch marker. Horologist, who improved to 8 for 21, earned a 90 Beyer Speed Figure.
“I thought it was good off the bench,” Mott said.
Mott said that the Grade 3, $250,000 Pimlico Special the same day as the duPont “makes sense” for Modernist, who won the Grade 3 Excelsior at Aqueduct on April 3.
Jose rockets past Irad
Jose Ortiz took advantage of his brother Irad’s absence last week to ride 10 winners, including five on Sunday, and vault to the top of the Aqueduct standings in the abbreviated 11-day meet. Jose leads Irad, 16-12, heading into the final four days of the spring session.
Both riders will be here to complete the meet.
“You want to win every meet that you can, but Irad wasn’t here this week and I’m sure he’ll come back and be competitive next week,” Jose Ortiz told NYRA publicity following his fifth win Sunday.
Chad Brown leads trainer Todd Pletcher, 7-6, heading into the last week.