Trainer Jason Pateman will aim consistent sprinter-miler Atlanta Blue at the inaugural running of the $100,000 Peninsula Mile at Belmont on August 25, following his win in the Crown Towers Handicap (1400m) yesterday.
Atlanta Blue was well fancied prior to yesterday’s event and was given a near perfect ride by jockey Lucy Warwick behind the leaders, before going on to record a half-length win.
Earlier this year, Atlanta Blue was competing in mid-week grade, but has found career best form since racing returned to Belmont Park.
Atlanta Blue hasn’t missed a place in his past six starts and Pateman said he would aim the gelding at Saturday week’s feature.
“This prep we haven’t come across any hiccups,” he told TABradio’s The Aftermath.
“We will keep him going now, he likes the sting out of the track.
“A $100,000 race 78+, we will have a crack at that.”
Pateman said although the Listed Hannan’s Handicap at Kalgoorlie in October was an option, it was unlikely the six-year-old would make the trip to the Goldfields at the risk of coming across a firm track.
Yesterday’s win took Atlanta Blue’s record to six wins from 25 starts, while his record with Warwick in the saddle is a win and three placings from four rides.
Pateman said Warwick was a good fit for Atlanta Blue.
“She seems to click with him,” he said.
“She’s a pretty aggressive rider, and he’s a pretty slack horse.
“I think that has been a turning point this campaign.”
Meanwhile, Pateman said his other runner from yesterday’s Belmont meeting Deep Cover had come to the end of his campaign.
“I think he’s had enough,” he said.
“He seems to have three or four good runs then he goes off.
“He played up in the gates, which is a bit out of character.”