Premier Pegasus Still Perfect After Prevue
The 2-year-old son of Fusaichi Pegasus is bred, owned, and trained by South Korean businessman Myung Kwon Cho, who campaigned Premier Pegasus' half brother, Norfolk Stakes (gr. I) victor Street Hero , two years ago. Premier Pegasus is out of the graded stakes-winning Summer Squall mare Squall Linda.
"I raced the dam of this horse," Cho said. "She changed my life (with Premier Pegasus and Street Hero).
Premier Pegasus, who completed the seven-furlong Prevue in 1:22.78, is a leading candidate for the $750,000 CashCall Futurity (gr. I) on Hollywood Park's Cushion Track Dec. 18. After initially indicating he intended to enter Premier Pegasus in the 1 1/16-mile event, Cho said he had not made a final decision.
"I have two possibilities for the Futurity, this colt and Riveting Reason," Cho said. "It would be a dream to win that race. I'm not certain yet what I'm going to do. We're eventually looking at the turf with this horse."
With Alonso Quinonez aboard, Premier Pegasus hustled out of the gate to get the lead over Industry Leader and Awesome Patriot while racing three-wide down the backstretch. Premier Pegasus gradually angled to the inside as Industry Leader backed off a bit and Awesome Patriot switched off the rail. Premier Pegasus carved even fractions of :23.08 and :46.34 to maintain the advantage on the turn.
After angling to the outside, Awesome Patriot drew to within a half-length of the leader rounding the bend, but Premier Pegasus responded to the pressure and burst away to a clear advantage as he reached the homestretch. Premier Pegasus switched leads effectively under left-handed urging from Quinonez to lead by 2 1/2 lengths at the furlong pole. He cruised home under urging but comfortably in front.
"He always surprises me," said Quinonez, who has ridden Premier Pegasus in all of his races. "He's learning and learning every race." When I asked him, he just took off. I wanted to get the jump on them before they came to me. I was just showing him the whip, I wasn't hitting him hard."
Industry Leader, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, was taken to the inside on the turn and came on well in the drive. He gained second by one length over Awesome Patriot and Victor Espinoza. Contemplated ran fourth.
“I was happy with his race," Bejarano said of the runner-up. "There was a lot of pressure at the beginning and the winner was going easy. He'll be all right in time."
High Level Jeff, who came into the race for new trainer Doug O'Neill unbeaten in two races at Calder Casino & Race Course this fall, was sent off as the 9-5 favorite. But he pulled early and lugged out in the lane after chasing the leaders into the stretch. He finished fifth, followed by Northern Indy , who faltered on the turn after making a bold move on the outside on the backstretch.
Premier Pegasus began his career inauspiciously as a 44-1 underdog against maidens at Del Mar July 24, but surprised a good field with a game one-length victory. Given three months until his next start, he was not dismissed as easily in Oak Tree's Jack Goodman Stakes at Hollywood Oct. 23. He went gate to wire for a 1 3/4-length score at odds of 5-1.
He earned $60,000 for the Prevue, nearly doubling his bankroll to $125,400.
Sent off as the narrow second choice, Premier Pegasus carried 118 pounds and paid $6, $3.60, and $2.80 while topping a $15.80 exacta with the third choice, Industry Leader. The latter, making just his second start after an impressive maiden debut win for trainer Kristin Mulhall, returned $3.40 and $2.80. Awesome Patriot improved on his fifth-place effort in the Goodman and paid $3.60 to show.
The last horse to win both the Hollywood Prevue and the Futurity was Declan’s Moon in 2004
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