News and STORIES

Happenings Involving Top 3 Year Olds

Author: Don Mckee
Published: Thursday May 09, 2019

Encouraging News For Instagrand
Instagrand, once seen as a serious Triple Crown contender exited Saturday’s Pat Day Mile at Churchill Downs with a sesamoid fracture in his left hind leg that will require surgery, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said. Hollendorfer said owner Larry Best, who campaigns the colt under the OXO Equine banner, was told by veterinarians that, “The prognosis for him returning to racing was very good.”

“Now that’s because the problem is a chip off the top of the sesamoid,” Hollendorfer told “If it was off the bottom, we have a different outlook on things. It’s totally operable, and the horse should theoretically get 90 days off and then be back in training.”

A son of Into Mischief, Instagrand finished eighth as the Pat Day Mile favorite on the Kentucky Derby undercard a month after he set the pace and stayed on for third in the Santa Anita Derby. Hollendorfer said Instagrand initially appeared “totally sound” after the Pat Day Mile. Curious, however, why his charge ran so poorly, Best sent the colt an hour East for examination Lexington, Ky., where the injury was discovered.

Peter Pan Field Solid
Experience may not be Intrepid Heart’s strength coming into the $300,000 Peter Pan Stakes Saturday at Belmont Park. He’s only raced twice and will be making his stakes debut in the 1 1/8-mile, one-turn stepping stone prep for the Belmont Stakes.

Yet, on paper, Intrepid Heart seems as good a candidate as anyone to be a key player in the 3-year-old division, especially during a year in which the disqualified winner of the Kentucky Derby (Maximum Security) began his career in a $16,000 maiden claimer and two starter races, the horse placed first in the Run for the Roses was eligible for a first-level allowance race, and none of the top three finishers in the Kentucky Derby will race in the May 18 Preakness Stakes.

Trained by three-time Belmont Stakes winner Todd Pletcher, the son of Tapit enters the Peter Pan off a pair of wins in as many starts, following a schedule mapped out by Pletcher to prepare his colt for the Peter Pan and beyond.

“He’s one we’ve always had high hopes for. The Peter Pan is something that’s been on our radar and we felt this was the best way to bring him along. We’re hoping a good performance in the Peter Pan could earn him a berth in the Belmont,” Pletcher told

Set to face just four 3-year-olds in the Peter Pan, Intrepid Heart began his career with a smashing 7 3/4-length victory in a Feb. 18 two-turn maiden special weight test at Oaklawn Park as a 4-5 favorite. Pletcher then sent him to Keeneland for a 1 1/16-mile allowance race April 5 that Intrepid Heart captured by a half-length.

National Pick 5 on Tap
The New York Racing Association, Inc. will on Saturday host a Cross Country Pick 5 featuring stakes at Belmont Park as well as Monmouth Park and Woodbine Racetrack. The minimum bet for the multi-track, multi-race wager is 50 cents. Wagering on the Cross Country Pick 5 is also available on track, on ADW platforms, and at simulcast facilities across the country. There will be a mandatory payout of the entire pool.

Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday, May 4
Leg A: Woodbine – Race 8, $100,000 Ballade (4:59 p.m)
Leg B: Belmont – Race 8, Maiden Special Weight (5:18 p.m.)
Leg C: Monmouth – Race 10, $75,000 Serena’s Song (Race 10, 5:25 p.m.)
Leg D: Belmont – Race 9, $150,000 Runhappy (5:40 p.m.)
Leg E: Belmont – Race 10, Grade 1, $700,000 Man o’ War (6:24 p.m.)