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Champ Pegasus Impressive in Del Mar 'Cap

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Champ Pegasus, the 3-2 favorite under leading rider Joel Rosario, rallied along the rail through the stretch with an impressive burst of speed to win the featured $200,000 Del Mar Handicap Sunday before 14,913 fans. 

 

Outrun in the early stages of the mile and three-eighths marathon over the infield grass course, Champ Pegasus saved ground on the final turn then made his move in the final eighth to win by 1 1/4 lengths in a fast 2:11.93 for the distance.

 

Buenos Dias, a 10-1 outsider ridden by Brice Blanc, won the battle for runner-up honors, nosing out Worth Repeating. Falcon Rock was fourth in the field of nine older horses. Unusual Suspect, who contested Saturday's Pacific Classic, was withdrawn.

 

Champ Pegasus, a four-year-son of Fusaichi Pegasus owned by the Diamond A Racing Corp. of Gerald Ford and partner Arturo Vargas and trained by Richard Mandella, returned $5, $3.40 and $2.80 with his third victory in seven starts. First money of $120,000 increased his earnings to $208,520. In his previous appearance, he was runner-up to Marlang in the Sunset Handicap at Hollywood Park.

 

Since the Del Mar Handicap is a Breeders' Cup Win and You're In qualifying event, Champ Pegasus assured himself a spot in the B.C. Turf in November at Churchill Downs, should his connections so choose.

 

Buenos Dias returned $13.20 and $7.40, while Worth Repeating paid $6.40 to show.

 

Jockey Rafael Bejarano, locked in a tight race with Rosario for the riding title this summer at Del Mar, escaped serious injury in the third race Sunday when his mount, Wallstreeter, clipped heels and stumbled badly, unseating Bejarano.

 

Bejarano was examined at the track first aid station and then at Scripps Memorial Hospital where he was released with no more than some bumps and bruises. He is expected to ride Wednesday. Two of Bejarano's mounts won, Imco Spirit in the fourth, and Scofield Barracks in the seventh.

 

Corey Nakatani had his biggest day of the season as he booted in four winners,

 

 

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