Volponi Upsets Burning Roma in Pegasus

From the Meadowlands
Volponi sat patiently behind the dueling leaders and kicked home in the stretch to take the $250,000 Pegasus Handicap (gr. II) on Friday night at the Meadowlands.

Ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan and trained by P.G. Johnson, the all-time stakes-winning trainer at the Big M, Volponi outran 6-5 favorite Burning Roma for a 2-3/4 length victory. The three-year-old son of Cryptoclearance covered the mile and an eighth in 1:46 2/5. Sent off as the 4-1 third choice in the field, Volponi returned $10.20, $3.20 and $3.00. The exacta was worth $30.20.

'I had a great trip and the pace set up good,' Bridgmohan said. 'He was running comfortably and I smooched to him at the half-mile pole and he gave me an indication that he had a lot left. He just accelerated on the front. Once he made the lead, he was kind of goofing around when he saw the lights, but he won with something left.'

It was another half-length back to Giant Gentleman, who cleared the lead after dueling with Woodman and faded to third in deep stretch. He completed a $232 trifecta.

The Pegasus victory was Volponi's first graded stakes win since annexing the grade III Pilgrim Stakes in his fifth lifetime start on October 22, 2000 at Belmont. He improved his career record to four wins in 13 starts and boosted his bankroll to $338,776 for Amherst and Spruce Pond Stables.

In a night that included five undercard stakes each worth $100,000, a first for the Meadowlands, Talk's Cheap came through in the Broad Brush Stakes under jockey Chuck C. Lopez.

Trained by Linda Rice, the five-year-old horse by Corporate Report covered the mile and a sixteenth on the main track in 1:41 4/5 and paid $6, $3.20 and $2.40. It was 3 and 3/4 lengths back to runner-up Runspastum who completed a $27.80 exacta. Rize, the even-money favorite, was another 2 and 1/2 lengths back in third.

It was the first win in five tries this year for Talk's Cheap who now has earnings of $539,906 for owners Team Canonie Stable and Harry V. Quadracci.

The Navajo Princess Stakes saw Cruise Along upset the field and return $50.80, $15.40 and $6.60 as a member of the mutuel field.

The three-year-old filly by Runaway Groom covered the mile and three eighths over a firm turf course in 2:15 1/5 and topped a $141 exacta. Favorite Queue was 3/4 of a length back in second with Chez Cherie rounding out the top trio, another length and 3/4 back.

The Larry Murray trainee boosted her bankroll to $111,970 for owner Sondra D. Bender.

Run Kush Run carried the hopes of owner John Rotella, after Say Florida Sandy was scratched, and did not disappoint in the Skip Trial stakes for sprinters.

Trained by Juan Serey and ridden by Jose Bermudez, Run Kush Run took to the track out of the gate and set all the fractions of :21 2/5, :43 2/5, and 1:09 for the six furlongs. The three-year-old colt by Concorde's Tune paid $8.20, $5 and $3. It was 2 3/4 lengths back to Oro De Mexico who completed a $110.40 exacta. Istintaj was a half-length back in third.

It was the fourth win in 12 lifetime starts for Run Kush Run who now has earnings of $176,738.

Beckon the King split foes late and came on to capture the John Henry Stakes in track record time, covering the mile on turf in 1:33 4/5, 1/5 faster than the record set by True Diplomacy back in 1989.

Claimed last out for $75,000 by trainer Gary Contessa, Beckon the King paid $31, $13.20 and $11.20. It was a length back to runner-up Strategic Mission who completed a $165.80 exacta. Buying Rain was another 2 and 1/2 lengths back in third.

Ridden by Norberto Arroyo, Jr., Beckon the King captured his sixth lifetime win and the first for new owner I.O.U. Atonn Stable.