ESPN Horse Racing

Sunday Break takes Peter Pan
By Richard Rosenblatt
Associated Press

NEW YORK - Bring on War Emblem, Sunday Break looks ready to play Triple Crown spoiler in the Belmont Stakes in two weeks.

In his first race in six weeks, Sunday Break cruised to a one-length victory over Puzzlement in the $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday.

Sunday Break, in winning his first stakes race, will be pointed to the Belmont Stakes on June 8, where he will attempt to prevent Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem from winning the Triple Crown.

``He came on well, he did an excellent job,'' trainer Neil Drysdale said. ``We'll see how he comes out of the race and then make our decision.''

Sunday Break, ridden by Gary Stevens, took the lead from pace-setter Essayons just outside the eighth pole, and was an easy winner. The bay colt covered the 1 1-8 miles in 1:48.

Puzzlement, with Jean Luc-Samyn aboard, finished strong for second and also might be headed to the Belmont.

Sunday Break, a close third in the Wood Memorial behind Buddha and Medaglia d'Oro, missed the Derby because of insufficient graded stakes earnings and Drysdale opted to pass on the Preakness.

So far, so good for the colt who might have been one of the Derby favorites on May 4. Should he run in the 1{-mile Belmont, he might present War Emblem with his toughest challenge yet.

Sunday Break, owned by Koji Maeda of Japan, went off as the 1-2 favorite in the field of seven and paid $3.10, $2.60 $2.10.

Puzzlement, trained by Allen Jerkens, returned $5 and $3.10. Deputy Dash was third and paid $4.60

Essayons was fourth, followed by Ibn Al Haitham, Heir D'Twine and Fast Decision. Fireballer was scratched.

Sunday Break earned $120,000 for the win and now has four wins in seven starts, with one second and two thirds. The payday boosted his earnings to $305,220.

Drysdale, who saddled 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus, pulled off the Peter Pan-Belmont double with A.P. Indy in 1992.

The Peter Pan has produced five Belmont Stakes winners, the last being Lemon Drop Kid in 1999.