• English import Infinite Magic, now in Ribaudo’s barn, to make dirt debut in G2 Peter Pan
• McLaughlin has two for Peter Pan
• Field taking shape for Peter Pan
• Unbeaten Lovely Syn and Kilnockagain clash in Sunday’s NYSS Park Avenue
• NYRA offering bonus for 2-year-olds who break their maiden at Belmont and win graded stakes at a NYRA track in 2013
Now 4, the Chad Brown trainee began last year’s campaign with five straight stakes victories, including the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup at Keeneland Race Course, before finishing fifth after an eventful trip in the Grade 1 Matriarch at Betfair Hollywood Park.
“Everyone wants her to have a good experience after what happened to her in California,” said Brown’s assistant, Cherie DeVaux, of Dayatthespa, who appeared to try and jump the rail on the first turn and emerged from the race with a gash to her right front that required six stitches. “We’ll go from race to race after this. It’s a good starting point.
“She looks fantastic,” added DeVaux. “She breezed last week on the turf [1:00.02] and did it in hand. She came back from the breeze perfect. She’s really been training well, but it’s good to get her back to the races.”
Javier Castellano will be aboard the New York-bred daughter of City Zip when she leaves from post position 2.
Also entered were the Todd Pletcher-trained Elusive Rumour (5-1) and recent allowance winner Kibosh (6-1), along with My Jopia, Mystic City, and Lady On the Run. Go Unbridled and Erin Enchanted were entered main track only.
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Well-traveled 3-year-old Infinite Magic has taken up residence in Bobby Ribaudo’s barn at Belmont Park, where he is training for an expected start in next Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Peter Pan.
The Peter Pan is a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds and is a local prep for the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes on June 8.
Infinite Magic began his career in England, where he won two of five starts, all over synthetic surfaces. After winning a handicap at Lingfield on February 1, he was purchased by Team Valor International and taken to the United States.
He has made one start in the United States, rallying from last to win a second-level allowance by a nose on Keeneland’s turf course on April 14 for trainer H. Graham Motion. The Peter Pan will be the colt’s first start for Ribaudo.
“It’d be easy to keep him on the grass – there’s a grass overnight stakes [on the day of the Peter Pan] – but when people invest money and take shots with 3-year-olds they’re hoping they can do something they haven’t done yet,” said Ribaudo. “It’d be nice to see if he can handle the dirt, and then there’d be a lot of options for him. You don’t want to compare him to Animal Kingdom, but [Barry Irwin of Team Valor] did the same thing with Animal Kingdom, and everyone thought he was nuts. He ran on the synthetic, and the next thing you know he’s in the  Derby on the dirt and he wins.”
Infinite Magic has had one workout at Belmont, breezing four furlongs in 50.11 seconds over the main track on April 14. Ribaudo said the son of More Than Ready is scheduled to breeze again on Sunday.
“It was an easy breeze, but he travels well on [the dirt], and we make sure to train him every day on the main track and take him to the paddock,” said Ribaudo. “Nothing seems to bother him. There’s nothing we don’t like about the way he travels [on the dirt], but in the afternoon you have to get dirt in the face, and sometimes that’s what they don’t like.”
Infinite Magic’s win on February 1 came at 1 ¼ miles, and Ribaudo expects the colt to have an edge over his Peter Pan opponents, many of whom have never competed beyond 1 1/16 miles.
“A mile and an eighth at Belmont is tough for a 3-year-old,” said Ribaudo. “It’s five-eighths of a mile before you get to a turn. You turn for home, and lot of those 3-year-olds will be done. At least he’s been a mile and a quarter. It was on synthetic in Europe, so it may not be as grueling, but it was a mile and a quarter, so at least he’s probably going to be the only horse who has gone that far.”
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Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said he plans to run a pair of Darley Stable colts in the Peter Pan, with Incognito and Transparent, both exiting allowance wins on the Aqueduct main track, aiming for the 1 1/8-mile race.
Incognito has won two straight at the Big A, having broken his maiden by 3 ¼ lengths on March 16 over the inner track in his fourth start and returning to capture an optional claimer by a nose on April 13 over the main track. In that race, Incognito was shut off for most of the stretch and clipped heels with one of his opponents before he found space and made a late surge to get up at the wire.
“He had a crazy race last time where he was in tight and clipped heels and came on to win,” said McLaughlin. “A really nice horse, but he has to keep stepping up.”
After graduating by 5 ¾ lengths on the inner track January 26, Transparent was sixth in the Grade 3 Gotham on March 2 before rebounding to win an allowance by 10 ¾ lengths on April 4 against three opponents.
“It seems like he was laying there in good position on the first turn [of the Gotham], and then he flattened out,” said McLaughlin. “I think the next start [jockey] Irad [Ortiz] took him back a little bit and settled in fourth, and maybe if we can ride him that way and be patient it will be helpful. We felt like we learned something about him.”
McLaughlin said the Peter Pan could be a Belmont Stakes audition for Incognito. Transparent is unlikely to continue to the Belmont.
“We know Incognito wants [1 ½ miles],” said McLaughlin. “We’re not sure with Transparent. It’s a great tune up for an important race, and we think Incognito could go on to the Belmont if he runs well.”
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Also testing the waters for the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes in the Peter Pan likely will be WinStar Farm’s Abraham, most recently fourth in the Grade 3 Illinois Derby; Battier, winner of the restricted Fit To Fight overnight stakes at Aqueduct; Freedom Child, who raced for purse money only in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial after being compromised at the start; Narvaez, seventh in the Illinois Derby; Saint Viguer, who beat older horses going nine furlongs in an optional claimer on April 13, and Calder Derby winner Sr. Quisqueyano.
Declan’s Warrior, who won the Grade 3 Bay Shore for Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito, is a possibility.
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Lovely Syn and Kilnockagain, both 2-for-2 since launching their careers in 2013, will face off in the $75,000 Park Avenue, one of two New York Stallion Stakes races for 3-year-old sprinters on Sunday’s card.
The 6 ½-furlong Park Avenue for fillies will be run as race 3 on the 10-race card, preceded by the $75,000 Times Square, also at 6 ½ furlongs.
Trained by Dominick Schettino for Joemar Racing Stables, Lovely Syn was a six-length winner of her debut on March 2 facing state-breds, and returned a month later to post a three-length triumph in a first-level allowance optional claimer.
Mike Luzzi has the return call on Lovely Syn, who drew post position 3 as the even-money favorite.
Kilnockagain, trained by Michelle Nevin, followed her 9 ¾-length maiden victory on February 16 with a 9 ¼-length starter optional claiming win on March 22. The Midas Eyes filly, 9-5 on the morning line, will leave from post position 4 under Guillermo Rodriguez.
Also entered were Keep Bustin, Sharon Spaghetti, Bit Bustin, and Jerusalem Stone.
Heading the field for the Times Square is 2-1 favorite Chapman, 2-1-1 from four career starts, with recent allowance winner Laila’s Jazz a narrow second choice at 5-2. Rounding out the field is the entry of Treblemaker and Madam I’m Adam, In Harm’s Way, Belief System, and Petrocelli.
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For the second straight year, The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) is offering a $100,000 bonus to the connections of any juvenile who breaks his or her maiden during the Belmont Park spring/summer meets and goes on to win a graded stakes at Saratoga Race Course, Belmont, or Aqueduct in 2013.
In 2012, Bern Identity and Shanghai Bobby collected the $100,000 bonus after respectively winning the Grade 2 Sanford and Grade 2 Three Chimneys Hopeful, both at Saratoga. Bern Identity broke his maiden on June 1 at Belmont in his second start, while Shanghai Bobby debuted a winner on April 19 at Aqueduct and went on to earn the Eclipse Award for Champion Two-Year-Old Male.
NYRA is offering the following graded stakes for 2-year-olds in 2013:
TRACK DATE RACE GRADE PURSE AGE DISTANCE
Saratoga Fri., July 19 Schuylerville III 150,000 F2YO 6 Furlongs
Saratoga Sun., July. 21 Sanford II 200,000 2YO 6 Furlongs
Saratoga Sun., Aug. 11 Adirondack II 200,000 F2YO 6 1/2 Furlongs
Saratoga Sun., Aug. 11 Saratoga Special II 200,000 2YO 6 1/2 Furlongs
Saratoga Thurs., Aug. 29 With Anticipation II 200,000 2YO 1 1/16 (Turf)
Saratoga Sun., Sept. 1 Spinaway I 300,000 F2YO 7 Furlongs
Saratoga Mon., Sept. 2 Hopeful I 300,000 2YO 7 Furlongs
Belmont Sun., Sept 29 Matron II 200,000 F 2YO 6 Furlongs
Belmont Sun., Sept 29 Futurity II 200,000 2YO 6 Furlongs
Belmont Sat., Oct. 5 Champagne I 400,000 2YO 1 Mile
Belmont Sat., Oct. 5 Frizette I 400,000 F2YO 1 Mile
Belmont Sun., Oct. 6 Pilgrim III 150,000 2YO 1 1/16 (Turf)
Belmont Sun., Oct. 6 Miss Grillo III 150,000 F2YO 1 1/16 (Turf)
Aqueduct Sat., Nov. 30 Demoiselle II 250,000 F2YO 1 1/8
Aqueduct Sat., Nov. 30 Remsen II 250,000 2YO 1 1/8