Mike Willman, Director of Publicity for Santa Anita Park, confirmed in the press box prior to today’s third race that Premier Pegasus, who was sure to be the heavy favorite, has been scratched from Saturday’s Grade I $1 million Santa Anita Derby.
After winning the Grade II San Felipe last month by nearly eight lengths, the three-year-old son of Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus became the top contender coming from the West Coast for the Run for the Roses on the first Saturday in May.
Speculation regarding the horse’s soundness had been prevalent for months due to his spotty work tab, but that seemed to have been put to rest with his emphatic score in the San Felipe.
However, PrePeg looked worse than ever while training this week and his camp confirmed today that a hairline fracture in his front left cannon bone will sideline him four months.
With 10 horses remaining, the Santa Anita Derby becomes a wide-open affair.
Jaycito, making his second start for trainer Bob Baffert, is likely to go off favored after finishing second in the San Felipe.
Bench Points and Comma to the Top, 3rd and 4th respectively in the San Felipe, are the next logical contenders, while Steve Asmussen’s Silver Medallion, who has won stakes races on turf and synthetic in his last two, also will take money.
As is usually the case, the “other” Baffert, Midnight Interlude, rates a long look as a long shot off an eight and a quarter length maiden breaking victory. He has looked spectacular on the track this week.
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