Just how talented is the unbeaten three-year-old turf star Analyze It? No one knows for certain, but we’ll get a better idea when he takes on a quality field of rivals in Saturday’s $200,000 Pennine Ridge Stakes (gr. III) at Belmont Park.
The nine-furlong race serves as a prep for the $1.2 million Belmont Derby Invitational (gr. I) on July 7th at Belmont Park, so it’s not surprising to see the Pennine Ridge attract eight colts and geldings with an eye on the big prize five weeks from now.
But while the field is deep, all eyes will be on Analyze It, who gone 3-for-3 thus far while winning every start by a minimum of 4 ¼ lengths. Trained by Chad Brown, Analyze It opened his career with a dominant maiden win going a mile at Belmont last fall, then shipped west to California and crushed the Cecil B. DeMille Stakes (gr. III) in gate-to-wire fashion, winning with complete authority.
Following a winter break, Analyze It returned in the April 6th Transylvana Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland, in which he showed a new dimension rating off the lead before rolling by the leaders to win by 5 ¼ lengths. With his versatility and exceptional acceleration, Analyze It should be tough to beat in the Pennine Ridge and will likely start as a heavy favorite.
Catholic Boy is also an accomplished turf runner, having won the With Anticipation Stakes (gr. III) at Saratoga last summer before finishing a good fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. I). Switched to dirt for a try on the Derby trail, Catholic Boy achieved early success with a powerful win in the Remsen Stakes (gr. II), but bled when finishing fourth in the Florida Derby (gr. I) two months ago, an effort that took him out of consideration for the Derby. He’ll be returning to turf now for trainer Jonathan Thomas.
Hawkish had a troubled trip when fourth in the Palm Beach Stakes (gr. III), his lone run in a graded stakes race to date, but the Jimmy Toner-trained son of Artie Schiller sandwiched that defeat with maiden and allowance wins at Gulfstream and Aqueduct and could be ready to take a step forward on Saturday. Also looking for better luck is Untamed Domain, winner of the Summer Stakes (gr. II) at Woodbine but 0-for-4 since then, though one defeat was a runner-up effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
Rounding out the field are Archaggelos, winner of the Grey Stakes (gr. III) on Tapeta at Woodbine; Irish Territory, runner-up behind Catholic Boy in the With Anticipation Stakes; and the allowance winners Up the Ante and Channel Cat.
The Pennine Ridge is the ninth race of the day, with a post time of 5:50 p.m. Eastern.