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Alternation to Skip Belmont Stakes

Peter Pan winner to be given a breather before summer campaign, trainer decides.

Pin Oak Stable’s homebred Alternation , winner of the Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont May 14, is no longer under consideration for the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), trainer Donnie Von Hemel announced May 29.

“We just decided to not come to the Belmont,” said Von Hemel. “We thought we should give him a bit of a breather and point him towards races like the Jim Dandy (gr. II) and Travers (gr. I)."

Both mainstays of the Saratoga Race Course stakes schedule, the 1 1/8-mile Jim Dandy will be contested on July 30 and the 1 ¼-mile Travers will be held August 27.

After spending most of the winter and spring at Oaklawn Park, where he finished fifth in the Arkansas Derby (gr. I), Alternation registered his first stakes win in the 1 1/8-mile Peter Pan. He came from off the pace to defeat Adios Charlie  by a head.

The son of Distorted Humor --Alternate (Seattle Slew) has won four of six lifetime starts and earned $215,004.

The decision leaves Ramon Dominguez, who rode Alternation for the first time in the Peter Pan, without a mount for the June 11 Belmont Stakes.

In other Belmont notes, Mucho Macho Man , sixth in the Preakness (gr. I) after losing a left front shoe, is now sporting a new set of glue-on front shoes as he is readied for the Belmont Stakes.

“I think we have the shoe situation under control for good,” said Kathy Ritvo, who trains the 17-1 hands tall colt for Reeves Thoroughbred Racing. “There are still a lot of things we have to go through to get him to the Belmont, but right now, he looks great.”

The Preakness finish was the first time Mucho Macho Man had finished off the board in 10 career starts. After running second behind To Honor and Serve in the Nashua and Remsen stakes (both gr. II) at Aqueduct last fall, the Macho Uno  colt was fourth in the Holy Bull (gr. III), victorious in the Risen Star (gr. II), third in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II), and third in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

“Even in finishing sixth, he was beaten only seven lengths and I am pretty sure he ran the race with three shoes,” said Ritvo. “I’m pretty sure he’s only going to get better.”

Mrs. John Magnier’s Master of Hounds, most recently fifth in the Kentucky Derby, is scheduled to ship from Europe to New York June 7 for the Belmont Stakes. He should clear quarantine June 9.

Second in the UAE Derby (UAE-II) in his only other start as a 3-year-old, the Aidan O’Brien-trained son of Kingmambo was sixth as the favorite in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IIT) last fall at Churchill Downs and third in the Racing Post Trophy (Eng-I) at Doncaster prior to that.