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
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Pacific Classic, was withdrawn.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
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,