Going two turns and leaving the blinkers in the barn for the first time in his career, Premier Pegasus drove himself down the stretch and into the Triple Crown picture with a remarkable 7 ¾-length victory in the San Felipe Stakes. On March 19, 2000 it was Fusaichi Pegasus that took the San Felipe Stakes before moving on to the capture the Wood Memorial followed by the 126th Kentucky Derby. As a three yr old, Fusaichi Pegasus was a big horse known for finishing races in the stretch by taking the lead and never letting it slip away. Premier Pegasus certainly listened to his Dad, romping home to score convincingly while adding $150,000 in graded stakes earnings.
The favorite Jaycito opened his three yr old campaign by breaking last from the gate and well behind before steadily gaining ground, making a five wide turn for home and finishing 2nd. It will be interesting to see how much he progresses before the Santa Anita Derby as we expect that race to be the true judgement on his chances of enjoying the blanket of roses at Churchill Downs. Losing for the first time but having enough to take 3rd was California Bred Bench Points with veteran David Flores in the irons.
#6 Premier Pegasus $16.60 $7.20 $5.00 #9 Jaycito $4.60 $3.60 #7 Bench Points $5.40
$1 Exacta (6-9): $24.30, $1 Trifecta (6-9-7): $201.60
Going into the race on Saturday we were aware of the speed that was trying to represent themselves as distance capable but I definitely didn’t expect the suicidal pace that ensued. Right from the break unproven contenders Runflatout and Albergatti along with class tested Comma to the Top moved quickly to the front. The three remained bunched through the first turn and throughout the back stretch firing fractions of 21.75 for the quarter and 44.58 for the half. After a split of 1:08.98 at the 6 furlong mark Corey Nakatani made his move aboard Comma to the Top. As he tried to open up and move away from the field, Premier Pegasus was just getting started. Striding beautifully out of the final turn, he took control and didn’t ease. Compliments to Jockey Alonso Quinonez and Trainer Myung Kwon Cho, who also bred and currently owns the dark bay colt. In the San Vicente Stakes they had Pre Peg stalking too close to the lighting fast pace set by the winner, The Factor, which ultimately left him tiring in the stretch. However, with this field they obviously sensed similar fractions coming and benefited a great deal by sitting further off the pace before getting to work at the top of the lane.
As the West Coast’s final stepping stone to the Grade I Santa Anita Derby on April 9th, Saturday’s results in the San Felipe will make the Final Stage of California Preps worth all the Hollywood Hype it’s going to get. Congratulations to Premier Pegasus who looks to continue to follow dad’s lead and inch closer to a Kentucky Derby dream come true. Good Luck to you, and your connections. We hope that all horses returned to their respective barns in good health and that we will also see you down the road.
Written by: Little Brink