July 16, 2024

Deterministic, The Wine Steward square off in Peter Pan

Deterministic wins at Aqueduct
Deterministic made his stakes debut a winning one in the Gotham at Aqueduct (Photo by Coglianese Photography / credit to Chelsea Durand)

The traditional local prep for the $2 million Belmont (G1), Saturday’s $200,000 Peter Pan (G2) at 1 1/8 miles has produced two of the last five winners in the final leg of the Triple Crown including Arcangelo, who swept both events along the way to being named champion three-year-old male.

With this year’s Belmont being transferred to Saratoga and shortened to 1 1/4 miles, the 2024 Peter Pan is eligible to produce multiple runners for the important race.

A convincing maiden scorer two back, Tuscan Gold is pegged as the morning line favorite following a third in the Louisiana Derby (G2), but the Chad Brown-trained colt will scratch in favor of the Preakness (G1) a week later. That leaves two main principals in the seven-horse field.

Grade 1 juvenile runner-up The Wine Steward, a close second when belatedly opening his three-year-old campaign in the April 13 Lexington (G3) at Keeneland, is pegged as the 5-2 morning line favorite. Luis Saez retains the assignment for Mike Maker aboard the Vino Rosso colt and The Wine Steward projects to be forwardly placed from the start.

After faltering at odds-on in the Wood Memorial (G2), Deterministic will seek a measure of redemption. The dark bay opened his racing career with a nice pair of wins, including a two-length tally in the Gotham (G3), but Deterministic never made an impact checking in eighth in the Wood. The Christophe Clement pupil has trained forwardly in preparation, and Deterministic figures to be rallying from off the pace with Joel Rosario.

Other runners include Wood third Protective, who is still seeking his first career win for Todd Pletcher; promising stakes debuter Unique Insight; and Louisiana Derby sixth Antiquarian.

Earlier on the program, Straight No Chaser tops six sprinters in the $175,000 Runhappy (G3) at six furlongs. The talented five-year-old speedster will make his first start since a 7 1/2-length romp in the 2023 Maryland Sprint (G3) on the Preakness (G1) undercard, and Straight No Chaser is favored at even-money with John Velazquez.

His rivals include Joey Freshwater, who will make his second start off a freshening for Linda Rice after rolling to a 3 3/4-length allowance win, and Grade 3 winner Durante.