Herbert and Carol A. Schwartz's Go Rockin' Robin, like Funny Cide a New York bred by Distorted Humor, flew over a sloppy Belmont Park track to win Saturday's $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds.
But to join the Kentucky Derby/Preakness Stakes winner in the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), the owners of Go Rockin' Robin would reportedly have to supplement the colt for $100,000 (plus $20,000 to enter), which happens to be the amount of the winning purse in the Peter Pan. The last Peter Pan winner to also take the Belmont was A.P. Indy in 1992.
"If I had nominated him to the Triple Crown, he probably would run," winning trainer Scott Schwartz said. "He would have to go against the elite of what's around. We'll think about it. He can definitely get a mile and a half. Can he go against Funny Cide, Empire Maker and Dynever? Who knows?"
Ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, Go Rockin' Robin won the 1/8-mile event by six lengths in 1:48 2/5 on gooey going. He defeated pacesetting Alysweep by about five lengths with a rallying Supervisor a neck back in third. The 6-5 favorite Nacheezmo, was no factor after breaking poorly and spotting the six-horse field several lengths.
"This must be the year of the New York-bred," said Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, who ran second to Funny Cide in the Kentucky Derby with Empire Maker and was second to Go Rockin' Robin in the Peter Pan aboard Alysweep.
Go Rockin' Robin, 13-1, was relaxed in the back of pack while Alysweep and Christine's Outlaw fought it out on the front end through splits of :22 3/5 and :44 4/5 and 1:08 4/5. Go Rockin' Robin moved into contention on the outside of the frontrunners when Spite The Devil increased the pressure in fourth. By the time they hit the stretch, Go Rockin' Robin had reached even terms with a tiring Alysweep. He pulled away handily.
"Shaun (Bridgmohan) had a ton of horse," Schwartz said. "(Go Rockin' Robin) always showed signs, but never took the next step. Today, he did. He beat older horses at a mile and an eighth quite handily last time, and I thought as good as he was doing, I had to give him a shot in here."
"He was in the bridle the whole way," said Bridgmohan. "I had watched some tapes of him and it looked like he came from pretty far back. But today, he got himself up close and in a great spot. I was pretty confident at the top of the stretch. It looked like Jerry (Bailey, aboard Alysweep) was starting to ask his horse and I was still sitting on mine. Once in the stretch, he went about his business."
WinStar Farm and McMahon Thoroughbreds bred Go Rocklin' Robin, who was making his graded stakes debut. He is perfect in two tries on an off track. The fourth career win in 15 starts pushed his bankroll to $268,138.
Go Rockin' Robin paid $28, $8.60 and $4.70. Alysweep returned $4 and $3.20. Supervisor, with Jose Santos aboard, showed for $6.80. The $2 exacta was worth $104.
"I thought he ran great," trainer Pat Reynolds said of Alysweep, who is nominated for the Belmont. "When (Nacheezmo) ducked in, he found himself on the lead and dueled with (Christine's Outlaw) and was able to hold on for second money. We'll see how he is in the morning before deciding on what's next."
Nacheezmo finished fifth, with 7-2 shot Christine's Outlaw faded to last.
"When you break like that on this track, you are really up against it," said trainer H. James Bond. "It took our game away. The Belmont never was in his plans."