March 28, 2023

Electability, Western River try stakes in Peter Pan; Bella Sofia returns in Vagrancy

Bella Sofia wins the Test Stakes (Photo by Coglianese Photos)

Saturday’s 11-race program at Belmont Park includes three dirt stakes, including the Peter Pan (G2), the traditional local prep race for the Belmont S. (G1) on June 11.

$200,000 Peter Pan (G2) – Race 9 (5:19 p.m. ET)

A pair of rising three-year-olds, Electability and Western River, will make their stakes debut in the Peter Pan. Eight three-year-olds are set for the 1 1/8-mile race, and 2019 runner-up Sir Winston was the most recent Peter Pan contestant to win the Belmont two weeks later. Tonalist was the last horse to sweep both races in 2014.

Electability, who was unplaced in lone start last year on turf, opened his sophomore season with a pair of nice wins, defeating maiden special weight and entry-level allowance rivals at Aqueduct. Chad Brown trains the Quality Road gelding, and Electability likes to race on or close to the pace. Irad Ortiz Jr. picks up the mount.

Western River, a full-brother to 2016 Belmont victor Creator, will face winners for the first time following an eye-catching maiden score at Oaklawn Park, rallying from nearly 20 lengths off the pace in last to win going away by 3 3/4 lengths. Rodolphe Brisset trains the gray colt by Tapit, who has sired four Belmont winners, and Luis Saez will guide late-running Western River.

Brisset will also send out We the People, who will look to rebound following a seventh in the Arkansas Derby (G1). The Constitution colt opened his racing career with a pair of convincing wins at two turns, and Flavien Prat has the return call.

Going Glider can’t be dismissed following consecutive fourths in the Blue Grass (G1) and Tampa Bay Derby (G2), and Set Sail invades for Richard Mandella after wiring maiden foes by 7 1/2 lengths at Santa Anita in his second start.

$150,000 Vagrancy H. (G3) – Race 3 (2:05 p.m. ET)

Test (G1) and Gallant Bloom (G2) winner Bella Sofia will open her four-year-old campaign against four rivals in the 6 1/2-furlong Gallant Bloom (G2) at 6 1/2 furlongs. Last seen finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) at Del Mar, the Rudy Rodriguez-trained filly will have Saez back aboard.

Other runners include multiple Grade 2 queen Frank’s Rockette, a close second in the April 2 Carousel S. at Oaklawn in her 2022 opener; Keep Waiting, runner-up in the April 9 Distaff (G3); and stakes winner Miss Brazil.

$150,000 Runhappy (G3) – Race 5 (3:06 p.m. ET)

Grade 3 winner Chateau looks like the one to catch among six sprinters in the six-furlong Runhappy (G3). Second in last year’s edition, the Rob Atras-trained gelding will make his second start of the year after finishing second in the Tom Fool (G3) on March 5. Kendrick Carmouche pilots the confirmed speedball.

Toboggan (G3) victor Drafted should appreciate the class relief following a fifth in the Carter H. (G1) on April 9. Jose Ortiz rides the late runner. Officiating, winner of the Tom Fool two back, will return to New York for Saffie Joseph Jr. Manny Franco will be up.