Country Grammer edges Caracaro in Peter Pan Stakes

Jul 16, 2020 James Scully/

Country Grammer made a decisive inside move into contention leaving the far turn and gamely defeated Caracaro by a neck in Thursday’s $100,000 Peter Pan (G3) at Saratoga, putting himself into the Kentucky Derby picture with his first stakes win.

The 1 1/8-mile feature on Saratoga‘s opening day program served as a qualifier for the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby, awarding points on a 50-20-10-5 scale to the top four finishers, and Country Grammer stopped the teletimer in 1:49.79.

Owned by Paul Pompa Jr. and trained by Chad Brown, Country Grammer stalked the pace in fourth before cutting the corner into the stretch. Irad Ortiz Jr. was up on the bay colt from the first crop of 2014 Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist, and Country Grammer left the starting gate at 4-1 odds.

It was a tough beat for Caracaro, who traveled three-wide most of the way and struck the front with a furlong remaining. The top two bumped in deep stretch, with Country Grammer taking a short advantage afterwards, but Caracaro never quit trying as the 3-1 second choice in the nine-horse field.

It was another 3 1/4 lengths back to 1.75-1 favorite Mystic Guide, who never was a factor rallying belatedly for the third spot, and Celtic Striker came next in fourth. Modernist, Chestertown, Candy Tycoon, Mo Hawk, and Katzarelli completed the order.

Bred in Kentucky by Scott and Debbie Pierce, Country Grammer sold for $450,000 at the 2017 OBS April 2-year-old sale. He was exiting a third in the June 4 allowance at Belmont Park and finished fifth when opening the year in the Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park. Country Grammer has now earned $117,320 from a 5-2-0-1 record.

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