Expert Pick of the Week: Peter Pan Stakes

Jul 15, 2020 John Mucciolo/

A field of nine sophomores will contest Thursday’s $100,000 Peter Pan Stakes (G3) during opening day at Saratoga. The 2020 Road to the Kentucky Derby challenge series event will reward the top-four finishers of the qualifying race with points on a 50-20-10-5 structure.

The well-matched field lacks a true standout and appears to be a great spot for Paul Pompa’s Country Grammer to break through with his initial stakes win. The bay colt is the Expert Pick of the Week.

Country Grammer debuted on the lawn in October and finished a good fourth at Belmont Park. Transitioned to the main oval for his second career engagement, the $450,000 juvenile purchase took the lead turning for home and powered clear to a 3 1/4-length tally at Aqueduct while going 9 furlongs.

Trained by Chad Brown, the colt kicked off his 2020 campaign in the Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park and endured a wide voyage en route to a fifth-place result behind runaway victor Ete Indien. The Kentucky-bred prepped for the Peter Pan with a third-place finish in a downstate allowance test.

The May foal has been training in fine fashion since arriving at The Spa and continues to develop. Son of Tonalist fired a bullet half-mile in swift time on the Oklahoma training track four works back, and his most recent drill on the main surface was sharp as well.

Country Grammer has a lot of room for improvement on Thursday being a lightly-raced colt who is making just his second appearance since February. He has a consistent turn of foot and will benefit from being in a cast with ample early speed to aid his chances in the stretch.

The 3-year-old graduated in his lone prior outing with Irad Ortiz Jr. in the stirrups, and he will prosper reuniting with the standout jockey for the Peter Pan. I expect Country Grammer to save ground throughout and take over in the stretch on his way to a lifetime-best performance.

Expert Pick for the Peter Pan Stakes

Country Grammer rallying to take the Peter Pan Stakes is the Best Bet of the Week.

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