05/07/2012 3:20PM

Belmont Park: The Lumber Guy opts for one-turn Peter Pan Stakes

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
The Lumber Guy, winner of the Jerome, will make his next start in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes.

ELMONT, N.Y. – With the disappointment of the Wood Memorial still somewhat fresh in their minds, the connections of The Lumber Guy on Monday chose to run their promising 3-year-old New York-bred in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes rather than wait a week for the $1 million Preakness at Pimlico.

The Peter Pan is run at 1 1/8 miles around one turn. The Preakness is run at 1 3/16 miles around two turns against the supposed upper echelon of the 3-year-old division.

Monday morning, after The Lumber Guy worked five furlongs in 1:00.86 over the Belmont Park training track, trainer Mike Hushion and owner Barry Schwartz discussed their options and chose the Peter Pan.

“I didn’t want a replay of the Wood,” Hushion said.

Breaking from post 8 in the Wood, The Lumber Guy got off a step slow and then rushed up to the lead while running a quarter in 23.04 seconds. He was a bit headstrong and had the lead until upper stretch before grudgingly giving way. The Lumber Guy finished fifth, beaten 6 1/4 lengths by Gemologist, who came back to run 16th in last Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.

Meanwhile, The Lumber Guy came back April 24 at Aqueduct to win the Grade 2 Jerome, a one-turn mile race by 2 3/4 lengths in front-running fashion. Though the early fractions of that race were faster than the Wood, they were run down a straightway.

“I don’t expect him to be in as much of a hurry going one turn as he was around two,” Hushion said.

Hushion said Mike Luzzi, who rode The Lumber Guy in the Jerome, will have the mount back for the Peter Pan.

Mark Valeski, who was held out of the Kentucky Derby by his connections, heads the prospective field of runners for the Peter Pan. On Monday, he worked five furlongs in 59.66 at Belmont Park under jockey Rosie Napravnik.

Others expected to run include Good Morning Diva and Big Screen, the one-two finishers in the off-the-turf Calder Derby; Cigar Street, Hakama, Phil Dancer, Right to Vote, and Street Life.

Summer Front eyes Peter Pan

Trainer Christophe Clement on Monday was toying with the idea of Summer Front making his dirt debut in the Peter Pan.

Summer Front, a son of War Front, went 3 for 3 on the turf as a 2-year-old. In his 3-year-old debut, Summer Front finished second as the favorite in the Lexington Stakes run over Keeneland’s Polytrack.

Clement said Summer Front worked well on the dirt at Payson Park during the winter and did so again Sunday, when he drilled six furlongs in 1:12.53 over the main track.

“Obviously, it’s time to try him on the dirt; the question is where do you try him?” Clement said.