The lone graded stakes winner in the field, Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren’s Charitable Man will continue on his comeback trail when lining up for the $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) May 9 at Belmont Park.
Seven were entered for the 1 1/8-mile Peter Pan, which is often used as a springboard to the $1 million Belmont Stakes (gr. I), to be held on June 6 in New York. Post time for the feature is 5:17 p.m. EDT.
Charitable Man will be starting for just the fourth time in his career and the second time this season after overcoming a serious injury. The son of Lemon Drop Kid—Charitabledonation, by Saint Ballado was diagnosed with a saucer fracture of his shin just two weeks after winning the Futurity (gr. II) last September at Belmont. He had surgery on the leg and was sent to Florida for the winter to recover.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin was impressed with the speed in which Charitable Man recovered from the surgery, so much so that he brought him back for the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland on April 11. The dark bay colt ran seventh on the Polytrack and was held out of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) despite having the graded earnings to qualify.
The Virginia-bred has worked twice at Belmont since the Blue Grass, most recently turning in a four-furlong move in :49.45 on May 3. Prior to the Blue Grass, McLaughlin described Charitable Man as “a top horse” that he had big hopes for. Against a solid field, the Peter Pan will be a good test to see where he stands. Regular rider Alan Garcia will have the mount and they will break from post 3.
There are several other promising 3-year-olds in the field with something to prove, including Imperial Council and Hello Broadway, both thought to be Kentucky Derby prospects just a couple months ago.
Sequoia Racing’s Imperial Council was impressive when winning an allowance sprint at Gulfstream Park in his sophomore debut. He then rallied very well down the stretch to finish runner-up to I Want Revenge in the March 7 Gotham (gr. III) at Aqueduct. But the Empire Maker colt’s Derby chances ended when he tired to finish fifth in the Wood Memorial (gr. I) on April 4.
Trained by Shug McGaughey, Imperial Council broke his maiden at second asking over the Belmont main track back in October. On May 3, he breezed a bullet four furlongs in :47.65 over the same going. Edgar Prado will be in the irons.
Elizabeth Valando’s Hello Broadway ended his juvenile campaign with a solid runner-up in the Nashua (gr. II) at Aqueduct and then opened up his 2009 season with a good second-place finish in the Hutcheson (gr. II) at Gulfstream. But a disappointing seventh in his first two-turn test – the March 14 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) – ended trainer Barclay Tagg’s hopes for a second Derby title.
Instead, Tagg took the conservative approach and put Hello Broadway in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race on the Keeneland Polytrack April 10. The Broken Vow colt responded with a 1 1/4-length score under Garrett Gomez. Also encouraging was Hello Broadway’s latest work at Belmont, a five-furlong move in :59.82 on May 3 – the best of 13 works at that distance.
Gomez will ride once again.
WinStar Farm’s Al Khali will be looking to rebound off an eighth-place finish in the April 4 Illinois Derby (gr. II), an effort that ended a three-race win streak for the Todd Pletcher trainee. Al Khali, by Medaglia d'Oro, began his racing career in Peru and scored in a two-turn allowance at Gulfstream in his American debut in March.
Robert Master’s Scorewithcater enters the Peter Pan having beaten upset Derby winner Mine That Bird in consecutive starts, both at Sunland Park in New Mexico. The Doug O’Neill trainee won the Feb. 28 Borderland Derby by a neck over Mine That Bird and then was third in the Sunland Derby the following month. Mine That Bird was a neck further back in fourth in that race.
A former $40,000 claim, Scorewithcater has made all but those last two starts in California and is 4-2-1 from nine tries. He won a two-turn optional claimer on the Santa Anita Pro-Ride surface on Jan. 29 to begin his 3-year-old campaign.
Rounding out the field is Stately Character, fourth in the Florida Derby (gr. I) and a winner of just one of nine starts in his career; and Brave Victory, who finished seventh in the Lexington Stakes (gr. II) on April 18 for Nick Zito.