Fusaichi Pegasus Game in Return
Photo: Associated Press / NYRA / Adam Coglianese
Fusaichi Pegasus, ridden by jockey Kent Desormeaux, winning the Jerome Handicap at Belmont Park Saturday. El Corredor came in second.
Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Fusaichi Pegasus returned to the races Saturday with a visually impressive 3/4-length win over El Corredor in the $150,000 Jerome Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park. Under highweight of 124 pounds, conceding from four to 10 pounds to his five rivals, the Neil Drysdale trainee completed the one-turn mile in 1:34.07 over a fast track.

As Albert the Great and Hook and Ladder set a brisk pace on the front end, Fusaichi Pegasus settled in mid-pack along the rail. Jockey Kent Desormeaux angled Fusaichi Pegasus off the rail on the backstretch before the colt moved into contention while wide on the turn. Hook and Ladder gave way in upper stretch and the winner went past Albert the Great while under a hand ride. El Corredor, bottled up in traffic straightening for home, came off the rail in mid-stretch to challenge Fusaichi Pegasus, who responded to his rider shaking up the reins by holding that rival safely at bay. Albert the Great finished third, followed by Big E E, Hook and Ladder, and Concerned Minister.

"He had to run a bit," trainer Neil Drysdale said. "It was important to get this race today. It puts us in a position to run again before the Breeders' Cup."

Fusaichi Pegasus (Mr. Prospector--Angel Fever, by Danzig) earned $90,000 for owners Fusao Sekiguchi and Shadai Farm for the win, his sixth in eight career races. The Jerome marks his first race since finishing second to Red Bullet in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) in May. His other stakes wins came in the Wood Memorial (gr. II) and the San Felipe (gr. II). Fusaichi Pegasus was bred in Kentucky by Arthur B. Hancock III and Stonerside Ltd.

The 6-5 favorite, Fusaichi Pegasus returned $4.40, $3, and $2.20. El Corredor, the 3-1 second wagering choice, paid $3.60 and $2.60. Albert the Great was worth $2.40 to show. The winning exacta combination paid $14.20. (Chart, Equibase)

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