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Madefromlucky Needs Luck

ELMONT, N.Y. — Madefromlucky earned his way into the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes on Saturday, coming from off the pace to take the lead in midstretch and hold off a closing Conquest Curlinate to win the Grade 2, $200,000 Peter Pan at Belmont Park by a length.

It was the first stakes victory for the son of 2010 Preakness winner Lookin At Lucky, who was coming off second and fourth-place finishes behind Kentucky Derby winner American Pharoah at Oaklawn Park in the Grade 2 Rebel and the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, respectively. Saturday, he relaxed well off legitimate early fractions of 23.51, 46.55 and 1:10.33 set by Wolf Man Rocket, before sweeping three wide into the stretch to take command a furlong out.

His winning time for the 1 1/8 miles was 1:48.36

“I think [he’s a Belmont Stakes horse],” said winning jockey Javier Castellano. “The way he did it today, why not? He finished very well; he finished strong and galloped out strong. I think it was a perfect prep for the Belmont. Now it’s up to the owner and trainer.”

Todd Pletcher, who trains the son of 2010 Preakness winner Lookin At Lucky for Cheyenne Stables and Mac Nichol, concurred.

“We wanted to find out where he fit and the Peter Pan has historically been a good prep for the Belmont,” said Pletcher, who also trains beaten favorite and third-place finisher Two Weeks Off. “He earned his way in if he comes out of this well and trains accordingly.”

Last year, Tonalist won the Peter Pan en route to upsetting California Chrome’s Triple Crown bid in the 1 ˝-mile, $1.5 million Belmont, which will be run on June 6 as the centerpiece of the expanded three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.

Sent off at 9-2, Madefromlucky returned $11.40 for a $2 win bet and with the winner’s purse of $120,000 extended his earnings to $378,700. For his career he is 3-2-1 from eight starts, including a maiden victory at Gulfstream Park in December and an optional claiming win there to kick off his 2015 campaign.

Conquest Curlinate, who was supplemented to the Peter Pan by trainer Make Casse, was 1 ˝ lengths in front of Two Weeks Off, who won a maiden and an allowance race prior to the Peter Pan.

“Johnny [Velazquez] said [Two Weeks Off] was a little bit fresh,” said Pletcher, who added he did not anticipate Two Weeks Off would be moving on to the Belmont. “He’s a little bit inexperienced.”

Completing the order of finish were Tiz Shea D amd Wolf Man Rocket.

NYRA By Jenny Kellner