Fusaichi Pegasus a 'Strong Possibility' for Jerome H.

Fusaichi Pegasus a 'Strong Possibility' for Jerome H.
Photo: Mike Corrado
Fusaichi Pegasus, winning the 2000 Kentucky Derby.
Trainer Neil Drysdale told callers on a national media teleconference Tuesday that Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Fusaichi Pegasus was a "strong possibility" for Saturday's one-mile Jerome Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park.

The son of Mr. Prospector, who was sold recently for a figure estimated to be between $60 and $70 million, has not started since his second-place finish in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I). He has fully recovered from a minor foot injury, recording four works in the past three weeks.

"All parties still have to be informed," Drysdale said. "And we'll also have to watch the weather. If the track condition is not good he won't run. There are lots of races coming up. This obviously is not our primary target. We're still a work or two shy, and a one-turn mile at Belmont is a difficult place to come back. But it should be a good steppingstone. It's not necessary for him to win. It's only a prep race. Our primary goal is the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), just bear that in mind. If we can get a race in him now, it will give us more options. With weather being what it could, there wouldn't be as much concern with a race behind him."

If Drysdale has one concern about the Jerome it is the weights. Fusaichi Pegasus has been assigned topweight of 124 pounds, and must concede large chunks of weight to some very talented horses.

"The weight spread makes this an unattractive spot for him," Drysdale said. "Hook and Ladder gets in with 113 pounds, and that horse can run. It's very rare to see a spread like this with 3-year-olds. You usually see it more with the older horses."

Drysdale, who is in California, said he'd probably return to New York on Wednesday to oversee Fusaichi Pegasus' final days of training. The colt's last work was a 7-furlong move in 1:28 1/5 last Sunday.

Others pointing for the Jerome are Albert the Great, Hook and Ladder, Mighty, El Corredor, and Big EE.

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