Charitable Man (in the pink silks) wins the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park in preperation for the Belmont Stakes.
Many owners and trainers try to win the Belmont Stakes with invaders. That is they try to bring a horse into the Belmont from outside the grueling Triple Crown to defeat the likes of a Mine That Bird who will be making his third start in just five weeks.
Perhaps the most dangerous of those horses is Charitable Man, shown above winning the $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park on May 9. The Peter Pan is the local prep race for the Belmont and has produced Belmont winners such as A.P. Indy in 1992 and Danzig Connection in 1983.
He was a promising 2-year-old last year winning the Futurity at Belmont Park, but an injury kept him from racing until April when he finished a dissapointing seventh in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. Trainer Kirian McLaughlin then pointed Charitable Man toward the Belmont using the Peter Pan as a perfect springboard into a showdown with the Derby-winning Mine That Bird. The fact that Charitable Man is by 1999 Belmont winner Lemon Drop Kid may have also been a factor is McLaughlin's decision.
Charitable Man appears to have enough tactical speed to be close to leaders in case of a slow leasurly pace and notice how he appears to get stronger through the stretch and even accelerates away from runner-up Imperial Cloud. That's a good sign of fitness in a horse at the end of a 1-1/8 mile race and stamina is of course paramount in the 1-1/2-mile Belmont Stakes.
Charitable Man may need every bit of that energy to hold off a late charging Mine That Bird and perhaps the onslaught of Dunkirk and others as well.