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
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.