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Unified Remains Unbeaten in Belmont’s G3 Peter Pan

Peter Pan Stakes Day

Unified, winner of the 62nd running of the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park on May 14.

(Photo by Sue Kawczynski/Eclipse Sportswire)

Centennial Farms’ Unified remained perfect in his young career with an impressive three-quarter length win in the Peter Pan Stakes (G3) going 1 ⅛-miles at Belmont Park on May 14. Though the Peter Pan is designed as a potential prep for next month’s Belmont Stakes, ala Tonalist’s double in 2014, trainer Jimmy Jerkens said it’s unlikely Unified would compete in the Triple Crown’s final leg.

Unified reportedly was no worse for wear the day the after earning his third win in as many starts and the first going a route of ground. In the Peter Pan, Unified showed a new dimension by rating kindly just off a solid pace of :23.32 and 46.68, before poking his head in front as he completing six furlongs in 1:10.25. Unified and jockey Jose Ortiz opened up a three-length lead at the eighth pole before holding off the late charge of the promising Governor Malibu for trainer Christophe Clement. Wild About Deb was another 2 ½-lengths back in third.

Unified, who beat maidens at Gulfstream Park upon his debut and came back to win the seven-furlong Bay Shore Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct last month, ran the Peter Pan in 1:47.14. He earned a 96 Beyer Speed Figure.

Jerkens said all options are open for the son of Candy Ride, but the Belmont Stakes isn’t likely given his inexperience.

“I don’t know,” Jerkens said. “There would have to be a lot of horses going by the wayside for that to happen. But you’d be an idiot nowadays to rule anything out, because things change overnight.”

Bred in Kentucky by Blue Devil Racing, Unified is out of the Dixie Union mare Dixie City. He was purchased at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale for $325,000. He has earned $324,000 in his perfect three-race career so far.

Unified obviously has no shortage in talent. He’s won at distances ranging from six furlongs to 1 ⅛-miles while displaying a versatile running style. However, Jerkens may be doing right by not throwing Unified into the fire of the 1 ½-Belmont Stakes off of just three races. The connections should certainly have a fun second half of the season, though.

-- Victor Ryan