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May 08, 2015

Pletcher pair highlight Peter Pan Stakes


Elmont, NY ( - Trainer Todd Pletcher will saddle 40 percent of the five 3-year-olds entered in Saturday's $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park.

The Peter Pan is the traditional local prep for the Belmont Stakes in four weeks. Tonalist won the 2014 Peter Pan on his way to claiming the Belmont and Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Starlight Racing's Two Weeks Off, with Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, is the 9-5 morning line favorite for the 1 1/8-mile stakes and will start from post 4.

Two Weeks Off posted a 6 1/2-length allowance win on April 4 at Keeneland after being unraced since his maiden victory last Aug. 30 at Saratoga. Three weeks earlier at Saratoga the colt finished second after being brushed at the start.

"The horse was training exceptionally well (for his comeback)," said Pletcher. "We were anticipating he'd run well, but that was even better than we were hoping for.

"It's a big step up in class and a quarter-mile further, but we like what we see so far. We hope his (race) would be good enough to consider something like the Belmont."

Madefromlucky, owned by Mac Nichol and Cheyenne Stables, is the 3-1 third choice and will be ridden for the first time by Javier Castellano from post 2.

"We feel like he'll like Belmont Park's big, sweeping turns. We know he can handle 1 1/8 miles and we will see if he belongs in the Belmont," Pletcher noted.

Madefromlucky took on champion colt American Pharoah the last two starts, getting second in the Rebel Stakes and fourth in the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park.

"Madefromlucky ran well to be second to American Pharoah in the Rebel, so his form looks even better now," said Pletcher.

Going for his first stakes win, Madefromlucky has won two of seven starts for $258,700.

The 2-1 second pick is Wolf Man Rocket, trained by Bob Baffert for Frank Fletcher Racing. Irad Ortiz Jr. will be aboard the chestnut colt for the first time and leave from the rail.

Unraced as a 2-year-old, Wolf Man Rocket broke his maiden in the Northern Spur Stakes on April 11 after getting second in a pair of maiden races at Santa Anita.

"Stretching him out really helped," Baffert assistant Jimmy Barnes said after the Northern Spur. "We've always wanted to run him longer, but we'd enter him and the race wouldn't go, and then we got him in a race but he coliced so that didn't work out either. Now we've broken our maiden in a stakes race."

Here is the field for the Peter  Pan in post position order: Wolf Man Rocket, Irad Ortiz Jr., 2-1; Madefromlucky, Javier Castellano, 3-1; Conquest Curlinate, Shaun Bridgmohan, 5-1; Two Weeks Off, John Velazquez, 9-5 and Tiz Shea D, Jose Lezcano, 12-1.

Post time for the Peter Pan will be apporximately 2:22 p.m. ET.

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