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Pants On Fire Cruises in Haskell Prep

Pants on Fire wins the Louisiana Derby 2011

George and Lori Hall’s Pants on Fire gained command around the far turn and held off the late charge of Concealed Identity to capture the Grade 3, $200,000 Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park on Saturday.


Pants on Fire, a colt by Jump Start, was making his first start since finishing 9th in the Kentucky Derby on May 7.  After a slight stumble out of the gate, he sat a couple lengths off of fractions of :23 3/5 for the first quarter mile and :47 1/5 for the half.  Pants on Fire asserted himself after entering the far turn before reporting home a two-length winner.


“He stumbled a little bit coming out of the gate,” said winning trainer Kelly John Breen, “but he didn’t grab himself or lose a shoe – it was just a little stumble.  He was on a loose rein, so I wasn’t sure how much horse she (jockey Napravnik) had, but when she moved to the lead he looked strong.”


Sent off as the odds-on favorite in the field of five colts and geldings, Pants On Fire returned $3.20, $2.80 and $2.10 after covering the mile and a sixteenth over a fast main track in 1:42 4/5.  Concealed Identity paid $5 and $2.40 and completed the $12.40 exacta.  It was another four lengths back to pacesetter Turbo Compressor, who paid $2.20 to show. 


“He was the best horse in the race,” said winning rider Anna Rose “Rosie” Napravnik.  “I think around the far turn, the horses in front started to get a little tired, so I just went for the lead.  This horse is very special to me.  He brought me to the Kentucky Derby, which hopefully won’t be a once in a lifetime experience.  He’s just a very special horse.”


The Pegasus win was the second graded stakes victory for Pants On Fire.  Earlier this year he captured the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, before heading to the Kentucky Derby.


A major prep for the Grade 1, $1,000,000 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth on July 31, the Pegasus winner could find himself headed to the Shore racetrack’s signature event:  “The Haskell is a definite possibility,” said Breen, who last week teamed with the Halls to capture racing’s third jewel in the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, with Ruler On Ice, who is also under consideration for the Haskell.


With his victory in the Pegasus, Pants On Fire sports a record of 3-3-1 from 10 starts.  He has earned $798,100 for his connections.


Earlier on the card, Love That Dance pressed the early pace set by Ever Always, before asserting command at the top of the stretch and drawing off to a 3 ½ length score in the $65,000 Open Mind Handicap.


Ridden by Pablo Fragoso, Love That Dance stepped the six furlongs over a fast main track in 1:09 3/5 and paid $8, $3.80 and $14.  Karmageddon completed the $31.40 exacta and paid $5 to place and $20.60 to show.  It was another length and a half back to Lil Kiara, who paid $38 to show.


Ever Always, the undefeated 2-5 choice in the field of five New Jersey-bred fillies and mares, was up on the early lead before being eased in the stretch.  Of the $81,782 bet to show on the race, 90.3% was wagered on Ever Always, creating the excessively large show prices.


“We had to go up and press the early pace,” said winning trainer Ben Perkins Jr. “That was our best chance.  She needed her last race and she breezed real well since then.  We were pretty confident going into this race.”


A 5-year-old mare by Not For Love from the Broad Brush mare Broad Exchange, Love That Dance bumped her lifetime mark to 9-6-1 from 26 starts.  She has earned $551,944 for owner John Petrini.



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Older Comments about Pants On Fire Cruises in Haskell Prep...

Sometimes you just got be a man. This is the 2nd race in a row that I felt was going to be a workout for a horse and the horse ended up winning. Both times it was a case of the field being easy enough that the trainer must have felt that the horse wouldn't have to overextend himself to win. Pants on Fire (2 four furlong works not enough) & Midnight Interlude (no grass works) didn't fit my precepts. I would rather watch a horse win and NOT wager then wager and watch it lose. Particularly at even odds or less.

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