The Pegasus Stakes (Grade 3)- $150.000 Purse
MTH- For Three Year Olds
One Mile and One Sixteenth on the Dirt
June 21, 2015
This Sunday at MTH is the running of the Pegasus Stakes, and this grade 3 event has a pretty good field of runners that had brief moments of glory in the run to earn a spot in the KYD. While none of these made any TC race, these moments likely had their owners thinking big at some point over the winter and spring months. Now with that hunt over, these horses come together for just the sixth running of this event. It appeared on the calendar for the first time in 2007 when a horse named Chien Ming Wang won the race, but then the stake disappeared from the schedule much like Wang’s namesake’s ability to get batters out disappeared. Chien Ming Wang is still the races most prolific winner. In 2011, the race resurfaced and became the first graded stake won by Being Prec. Other race winners have not fared well, with 2013 winner Pan Arific placing seventh in his next three races, and never won again. 2014 winner Epiphanot was in $20 claimers by Christmas. Looking at the 2015 field, you have to feel that there will be good things on the horizon for this winner. It seems to be too good of a field not to be. It’s time now to meet that field, and there will be seven in this race.
Be aware that there is a very strong chance that we will have a wet track for this race. Forecasts currently call for a 100% chance of rain. Heavy rain is expected in the northeast, especially in the area around MTH.
#1- Valparaiso Harbor (Barcelona Farms, ridden by I Beato)- Got off to a fantastic start to his career with three wins, and then a pair of second-in-a-photo finishes in ungraded stakes to follow, including the very underrated within our game, TUP Derby. Following that, it was off to the TC chase, and a third in the G2 LA Derby had him off to a good start, but he could not follow it up and gain TC points in the IL Derby a month later. Most recently, he is coming off a third place run in the Grade 3 Marine Stakes at WO on the day the PRK was run. If by some miracle of virtual weather programming, the track is dry on Sunday, he has to be one of the favorites; but note that he has never raced on a wet track, nor has he ever publicly worked on one.
#2- Steel Suited (Mb Stables, ridden by O Bocachica)- This three year old gelding by Steel Ball was less then a length away from earning a KYD bid when he placed third in the G1 Wood Memorial at AQU. It was the only prep race he participated in, having broke his maiden just two weeks prior to that. He was last seen a month ago as one of the three horses in this field that come out of the Grade 2 Peter Pan. He was fifth there (but again by less then a length from a victory), and the top performer of the threesome to be in this field. Steel Suited has never raced on an off track, and like Valparaiso Harbor, doesn’t have a public work on anything other then a fast or firm track.
#3- Charley Did It (Emerald Racing Inc, ridden by E Trujillo)- The trainer is hoping that a change from the turf to the main track will pay off dividends, but first it seems as though the transition will be from turf to slop. Other then his debut race, Charley Did It (by Kenickie, who is by Charley Farley), has exclusively raced on the turf and has two attempts at ungraded stakes, the second of which ended quite poorly. So far his maiden win at LAD is the only time he has been in the winners circle, but he has shown flashes of potential in prior races. Hopefully for his trainer, the surface change does the trick. He’s never raced on an off track, but has a work on Christmas which gives the impression he can handle slop, but not necessarily thrive in it.
#4- Articulate (Running Farms, ridden by J Bravo)- After taking some time to break his maiden, Hippyheart opted to sell off his Waiver Wire colt, and he was purchased by Running Farms. The new trainer was immediately rewarded with an optional claimer win at AQU, which led to his entry in the NY-bred Lee Stakes over Memorial Day weekend, where he was fifth by a length. That race was a little shorter, and it is possible that there was a tactical adjustment made for that race that may make it a throw out when looking at this one. Articulate has also seen mud before, having placed third in a photo in a PRX maiden event. His race time though breeds optimism that he may thrive on slop, though I wish I had more figures to look at. This makes him an interesting play given the lack of off track experience by others, because more then likely he will not be one of the favorites. Watch the tote board, and take a shot if you’re feeling it.
#5- Baffle (Njvets, ridden by J Ferrer)- During the TC chase, Njvets was dealt with a couple of outside draws at a time in which outside draws were not the place to be in the starting gate. Baffle had shown potential in these races, but I was left thinking that I hadn’t seen the best of him in the Gotham (G3) or Wood Memorial (G1). Last month on KYD day on the CD undercard, Baffle showed what he could do and captured the G3 Day Mile Stakes. The General Assembly colt seems to be working well, and if this were going to be on a fast track, I would put him on top. But he can adapt to the likely slop? While he has never raced on an off track, a couple of works in his past raise some concern that it may affect him more then others.
#6- Kingslayer (Double J Stables, ridden by P Lopez)- This colt by Pink Panther had a promising start to his career, with a good two year old campaign, and then winning the G3 Davis Stakes in his first race as a three year old. Even with a couple of third place runs in the G2 TAM Derby and the G2 AR Derby, this talented colt ended up being on the outside looking in for the KYD but you could make the case, surely, that he was just a victim of the weighted KYD point system. Unfortunately, if Kingslayer wanted to prove that he belonged in the TC races, it would have been the naysayers that had the last laugh with a 7th place run in the G2 Peter Pan, where he couldn’t get the ninth furlong as well as others. Today, there is slightly less distance, and he should be a strong contender. He has never raced on an off track and has no public off track works. His balanced rear triangle could be promising for it, though.
#7- Conquest (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by D E Centeno)- If you take the graded stakes out of Conquest’s record, he is very successful, with a (6-2-2-0 record). Include the graded events, you have three 8th place finishes, a 9th, and a 10th. The confidence in which the trainer has in him will not be diminished in his conquest to make the Flick The Switch colt a graded winner. In his last two runs, he tried to come from off the pace, and was closing hard to get closer to the front. Without any deeper analysis of his races then past performance lines, I wonder if he would be better adding distance, rather then making this slight cut. Perhaps a tactical change is in the works. On off tracks, Conquest saw one in the Grade 3 Iroquois, where he picked up one of his 8th place finishes.
Prediction (off track): 6-4-1-2
Prediction (fast track): 5-6-2-1
Categories: Grade III