05/09/2013 3:35PM

Belmont Park: Peter Pan a Belmont Stakes tryout for Infinite Magic


ELMONT, N.Y. – Absent from the Kentucky Derby for the first time in three years, Team Valor International holds out some hope for making the Belmont Stakes with recent acquisition Infinite Magic, who runs in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park.

A Kentucky-bred son of More Than Ready, Infinite Magic raced exclusively on synthetic surfaces in Great Britain before winning a second-level allowance race on turf at Keeneland last month.

“We bought him to try to see if he might be a Belmont horse,” said Barry Irwin, president of Team Valor, which owns 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom. “He had won on the all-weather going a mile and a quarter. Even though he’s by More Than Ready – which you would not normally associate with a horse that would run that far – he ran a mile and a quarter and did it well.”

Irwin said that he preferred to run Infinite Magic in a dirt race, but he couldn’t find one, which is why he raced on the turf at Keeneland.

“We want to try him in the Peter Pan, see how he likes the track, how he likes the dirt,” Irwin said. “We could be crazy on all counts, we could be right.”

Edgar Prado rides Infinite Magic from post 11.

Bobby Ribaudo will be listed as the trainer of Infinite Magic for the Peter Pan. Team Valor has recently split with Graham Motion – save for Animal Kingdom’s upcoming career finale at Royal Ascot next month and Howe Great, who runs in the Dixie at Pimlico – and has hired Rick Mettee as its private trainer. Mettee is in the process of getting set up at Team Valor’s Fair Hill base, and Mettee suggested Team Valor send Infinite Magic to Ribaudo, who got the horse on April 22. The horse has worked twice at Belmont.

“We could leave him with Bobby or eventually send him to Rick,” Irwin said.

Irwin said that there are approximately 23 horses for Mettee at Fair Hill, with eight 2-year-olds on the way by June 1.