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Pete’s Picks: Tonalist in Peter Pan, Real Solution in Man O’ War

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 5/10/2014 12:19:40 AM

Who: Thoroughbreds – Matterhorn, Fabulous Kid, Commissioner, Tonalist, Grandeur, Imagining, Amira’s Prince, Real Solution, Lucayan

What: Horse Racing Betting Tips – The Peter Pan, The Man O’ War

Where: Belmont Park

When: Saturday and Sunday, May 10th and 11th

The Peter Pan at Belmont Park this Saturday fits perfectly schedule-wise as a prep for the Belmont Stakes in four weeks. It is unclear, however, if any of the Peter Pan contestants will be up to the task in the final leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown. We’ll see. By contrast, the Grade 1 Man O’ War on Sunday at Belmont Park is an end in itself. An evenly-matched field of seven will head postward, presenting an interesting handicapping puzzle for us to solve. Let’s take a closer look at these races below.

A pair of Todd Pletcher runners will race uncoupled in The Peter Pan, #1-Matterhorn (6-1) and #3-Commissioner (5-2). As is the case with many Pletcher-trained three-year-olds, they are well-bred and their careers have been closely followed. Thus far, neither has lived up to the hype. Matterhorn, a $625,000 2YO purchase, has yet to clear his entry-level allowance hurdle, and his top Beyer Speed Figure of 83 won’t cut it vs. these. Commissioner won his 3YO debut vs. the highly-regarded and since injured Top Billing in early January at Gulfstream Park, but his best finish in three subsequent stakes tries was a distant third in the Sunland Park Derby. #2-Fabulous Kid (4-1) looks like the speed of the race, but he too will need to up his top Beyer of 85 to hold this field at bay. I’m siding with #4-Tonalist (2-1), who will be making his Belmont Park debut off a 2 ½-month break. He has put a couple of minor physical problems behind him, and his local bullet 5-furlong breeze last Sunday indicates he’s ready to roll for trainer Cristophe Clement and returning rider Joel Rosario. Tonalist’s Beyers have improved with each start (72, 90, 92), and his second-place finish last out to Constitution was flattered when that runner won The Florida Derby in his next start. I’ll bet on Tonalist to win the Peter Pan at odds of 3-2 or better.

There are knocks on every horse in the Man O’ War, so the trick may be to figure out which knocks to disregard and to zero in on the horse with the class edge. I believe that horse (aptly named for our purposes) is #6-Real Solution (3-1). In three consecutive North American Grade 1 grass events last year he finished in the top three with a win in The Arlington Million via DQ (99 Beyer) and a pair of thirds (102 Beyers), at Belmont Park in The Manhattan Handicap and The Turf Classic Invitational. The Ramsey homebred, trained by Chad Brown, may have needed his first start in nearly five months when finishing 4th in the Grade 2 Mervin H. Muniz Memorial Handicap over soft turf at Fair Grounds last out, so you can expect him to be at his best for this. World-traveler #1-Grandeur (4-1) is in sharp form, having won most recently on Lingfield’s polytrack. However, his top Beyer of 95 is a bit on the light side. #2-Imagining (5-1) is a hard-hitting Phipps homebred whose top Beyer of 97 also falls a bit short of Grade 1 quality. #5-Amira’s Prince (5-2) looms the main threat, having defeated Real Solution in the Muniz in his second start of the year. #7-Lucayan (6-1) ships in for trainer Neil Drysdale, whose stock must always be respected. However, Lucayan has only one win to his credit since June, 2012. I’ll bet on Real Solution to win at odds of 2-1 or better.

Those are my horse racing betting tips for this weekend. Best of luck and happy gambling!

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