Premier Pegasus (right) won the race with a spurt of pure power turning for home. He dropped back off the hot pace set by Albergatti, Runflatout and Comma To The Top. PrePeg moved passed his tiring rivals with a strong burst turning for home, getting lengths of separation in the span of a quarter-mile. In the end, he won the race by 7 3/4 lengths in a time of 1:41.23. His sire Fusaichi Pegasus also won this race before going on to win the Kentucky Derby in 2000. Now many will point out that he did receive a great set-up with the swift fractions, and the fact that he tired late. This blog does not disagree with either statement, but the counterpoint to that is that it still takes a good horse to get that kind of separation that quickly. Also, he was making his first start routing off a 20 day layoff with only one work in between, and only 3 works before the previous race, which was be preceded by a 3 month layoff. He had every right to get tired at that point, and he was not really asked in the final 1/16th. This blog is sky high over the performance, as he has been the choice to break the drought and win the Kentucky Derby since October of last year. (Full disclosure: This blog managed to get into the winner's circle picture for the San Felipe, so I am admittedly somewhat biased on my thoughts of this race about PrePeg.)
Second-place finisher Jaycito (right) was making his first start back since his disaster of a race in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. He dropped way back and rallied on for second. It was a nice building block for the future, which figures to be the Santa Anita Derby and a rematch with Premier Pegasus. His pedigree indicates that he will have no problems with the distance, and his run on Saturday answered the lingering dirt questions that surrounded him after his BC disaster. He will have to improve to catch not only PrePeg, but the ever-looming Uncle Mo as well. His trainer Bob Baffert has won several Santa Anita Derby and Kentucky Derby trophies, but never in the same year. Will this be the year?
The third-place finsher Bench Points (left) had some minor traffic problems when he made his move to inside as PrePeg was launching on the outside, but was no match for the winner and barely made it by Comma To The Top, who ran a game 4th after being a part of those wicked fractions. He proved that he can handle the dirt just fine but the percieved distance limtations may be a reality. The connections could point to a race like the Met Mile, where his speed and determination will be an asset. The massively hyped Runflatout, who was bet down to the 5/2 second choice, finished last, being done in by the wicked fractions that were heavily predicted. Hopefully his connections will regroup with him for a summer campaign.
News and Notes
- Silver Medallion, the El Camino Real winner, had a majority interest in him sold, and will most likely be running in the Louisiana Derby for his last Derby prep instead of the Santa Anita Derby, where the chance to stay alive for the Preakness 5.5. existed. He worked 6f in 1:12.80 over the Santa Anita dirt on Monday (3/14), the 6th best of 14 works.
- Another Asmussen trainee, Astrology, is headed to the Sunland Park Derby for his first start of the year. He worked 7f in 1:25.20 on 3/15.
- Robert B Lewis Stakes winner Anthony's Cross worked across town at Hollywood on Monday, working 6f in 1:14.60, the 5th best of 6th works.
- Also working at Hollywood, but on Tuesday (3/15) was allowance winner Mr. Commons. He popped a bullet 5f work in 59.2, the fastest of 27 works that day.
- San Vicente runner-up Sway Away worked on 3/12 at Santa Anita, going 7f in 1:23.6 in preparation for the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park this weekend. He will be going with the winner of that race The Factor, who also worked on 3/12, going a bullet 6f in 1:12.2, the best of 11 workers. Either one of them could be a player in the Santa Anita Derby.
Saturday saw a horse charge to the lead of the division with a burst of speed. Can Premier Pegasus be like his father and win both the San Felipe and the Kentucky Derby? Can PrePeg be like Sunday Silence and win the San Felipe, the Santa Anita Derby and the Kentucky Derby? Can PrePeg be the one who can finall break through and match the feat of the legendary Affirmed, who won the San Felipe, the Santa Anita Derby and then the elusive Triple Crown? We shall see. Good luck everybody.