The Phipps Stable's 3-year-old Pulpitcolt is nominated for the Triple Crown and winning trainer Shug McGaughey said the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) on June 9 is a possibility. Sightseeing notched his first graded stakes win in the Peter Pan after a game half-length defeat to Nobiz Like Shobiz in the Wood Memorial (gr. I) at Aqueduct last month.
“We’ll wait and see how he comes out of this," the conditioner said. "The Belmont is possible. Back at the Wood Memorial, just knowing the horse and where he was at mentally, I was thinking about the Jim Dandy (gr. II). We’ll see what happens. We’re here and I am sure the Phipps would love to run in the Belmont if they thought they had a legitimate chance."
The $600,000 Jim Dandy Grade at nine furlongs is July 29 at Saratoga.
Ridden by Edgar Prado, Sightseeing was never far behind the leaders while racing at the rear of the six-horse Peter Pan. He swung up wide on the far turn of the 1 1/8-mile test for 3-year-olds and took aim at Prom Shoes and Fearless Vision while closing strongly in the middle of the track. But his rivals, Prom Shoes, ridden by John Velazquez, and Fearless Vision, with Garrett Gomez aloft, weren't giving in easily. Sighteeing kept fighting, however, and just prevailed. Prom Shoes finished a neck in front of Fearless Vision. The winning time in the one-turn event was 1:48 4/5 on a fast track.
"I felt that when I turned him loose, he was going to explode," Prado noted. "It took him more strides than I thought. He finally got into gear. I wasn’t sure (of the win) until they put my number up. I think distance will suit him perfectly. He came back and wasn’t blowing that much.”
Hal's My Hope and Soaring By exchanged the lead after a quarter mile in :24 1/5 and the half in :47 4/5 before Prom Shoes, prompting the pace three wide, took over as they completed six furlongs in 1:12 1/5. Prom Shoes battled with determination while under strong urging in deep stretch, but just missed. Fearless Vision also showed gameness while racing between horses in the lane.
McGaughey, who has brought Sightseeing along patiently, said the stretch run was a good example of Sightseeing's inexperience.
"Turning for home, I said, `Hey, (Prado) never even asked him.’ Then, when he asked him, he still really didn’t know what to do. He needed to get two or three jumps before he got leveled off and going. When he steps it up, he isn’t going to have those two or three jumps. He’ll learn. This will be good for him. I wanted him to have a target. Edgar rode him like he had a target. In the Wood, when he lost his target, he sort of lost interest.”
Stakes placed as a 2-year-old in the Nashua (gr. II) in November, Sightseeing won for the second time in nine lifetime starts and increased his earnings to $348,730. The dark bay or brown homebred is out of the Pleasant Colony mare Resort.
Sightseeing paid $3.20, $2.60, and $2.10.
Prom Shoes, making his graded stakes debut after a fourth-place finish in the Derby Trial at Churchill Downs last out for trainer William Fires, returned $9.20 and $5.20.
The runner-up appears more likely for the $300,000 Ohio Derby (gr. II) at Thistledown on June 2 than for a Belmont Stakes appearance.
“He made the lead a little quicker than we wanted him to,” said Fires. “He likes a horse to run at; he won’t even gallop fast if there is not something in front of him. I thought he was home free today, but (Velazquez) said he got to waiting on horses.”
Fearless Vision was $2.80 to show in his initial stakes try for trainer Patrick Reynolds.
“He ran well,” said Reynolds. “Losing ground never helps, but the winner came around him, so what can I say? He sat kind of a nice trip and never gave up. We’ll have to digest this and see how he is tomorrow before thinking about the Belmont.”
Hal’s My Hope, Sir Whimsey and Soaring By trailed. Vitruvius, who figured prominently, was scratched earlier in the day.
“He has a skin disease that got worse the closer we got to the race,” said trainer Jimmy Jerkens. “We treated him with antibiotics, and probably will have to look for an allowance race for him in the next condition book.”