Head to Head: Handicapping the 2021 Pegasus Stakes

Head to Head: Handicapping the 2021 Pegasus Stakes
Photo: Bob Mayberger/Eclipse Sportswire

The listed Pegasus Stakes, formerly a Grade 3 event, is considered a prep for the premiere summer races, the Haskell Invitational (G1), Jim Dandy (G2), and Travers Stakes (G1).  Five 3-year-old colts and geldings will contest 1 1/16-miles over Monmouth’s main track on Sunday in Race 10. Fans and bettors alike should keep in mind that Monmouth Park has disallowed the use of the crop except for “safety reasons,” a loophole that will surely be subjective.

Laurie Ross of Pedigree Power and Ashley Tamulonis of Coast To Coast fly through the contenders’ past performances and make their picks.

 

ASHLEY

LAURIE

1. BROOKLYN STRONG

Remsen (G2) winner Brooklyn Strong only made this year’s Kentucky Derby (G1) field due to a multitude of defections. The son of Wicked Strong likes to press the pace, but he in no way got the trip he wanted in the Derby. With this small field, that should not be a problem, giving the gelding a much better shot of picking up a check.

Brooklyn Strong lowers his expectations and shortens up in the Pegasus, hoping to regain the form and promise he flashed as a 2-year-old. He didn’t beat much last year and will face a couple of quality horses. Worth an exotics look.

 

2. MANDALOUN

Risen Star (G2) winner Mandaloun has only ever finished off the board once, and that was when he finished an uncharacteristic 6th as the favorite in the Louisiana Derby (G2). A line definitely should be put through that race as Mandaloun, who could be declared the Kentucky Derby winner retroactively, ran his heart out to be the runner-up in the Run for the Roses. This will be a huge drop in class for the son of Into Mischief, who is the deserving heavy favorite.

In the Kentucky Derby, Mandaloun returned to his previous form as a dogged competitor we all knew and loved earlier in the year at the Fair Grounds before his mysterious and uncharacteristic sixth-place finish in the Louisiana Derby. Obvious class of the field.

 

3. DR JACK

The undefeated Dr Jack brings quite the pedigree to the board. Half-brother Idol won this year’s Santa Anita Handicap (G1). Second dam Andujar was grade one placed at 9 furlongs. This Pletcher trainee has the breeding to go long, though he will only need to run 1 1/16-mile on Sunday. His speed figures will need to improve, but it looks as though the talent could be there.

Dr Jack checks out the stakes scene after two easy victories against lesser types. A half-brother to this year’s Santa Anita Handicap (G1) hero Idol, Dr Jack is bred to run all day, and we’ll find out if he’s as good as his pedigree indicates.

 

4. WEYBURN

Gotham (G3) winner Weyburn skipped the Kentucky Derby (G1) to point toward the Peter Pan (G3) and the Belmont (G1). Unfortunately, Jimmy Jerkens had to scratch the colt from the Peter Pan due to a fever, resulting in his charge also skipping the Belmont. Instead, the upset winner of one of Aqueduct’s Derby preps landed here in the Pegasus. Weyburn has the highest dirt speed figure in the field, the 104 he earned in the Gotham. The extra distance in the Wood Memorial (G2) seemed to have gotten him, but the cutback in distance should help here.

Last seen finishing fourth in the Wood Memorial, Weyburn cuts back to a more comfortable distance. Jimmy Jerkens gave the son of Pioneerof the Nile a sharp pre-race five-furlong move of 59.18, the best of 27.  We may see a speed duel between Weyburn and Lugamo.

5. LUGAMO

Speedster Lugamo was last seen finishing a well beaten 12th in the UAE Derby, where he was never a threat. Stateside, the son of Chitu has a maiden and an allowance win, but he is clearly outclassed by the rest of the field.

Antonio Sano returns to the drawing board after Lugamo’s disastrous trip to Dubai, where the horse was beaten 30 lengths in the UAE Derby. Not sure what possessed him to take a stakes-placed sprinter, but maybe it was a free trip. Lugamo looks up against his betters, and I vote him most likely to be the Pegasus speed/fade candidate.

 

 

Final Thoughts

Ashley: No big surprises here. We have a heavy favorite with three that could upset the apple cart and one outlier. All the speed drew to the outside, though none from that trio have previously set suicidal fractions while on the lead. Florent Geroux will want to keep Mandaloun close, as will Abner Adorno on Brooklyn Strong. The field should be compact, and I foresee it being a sprint to the wire after sensible opening fractions.


Laurie:
Joe Bravo has barely shipped his tack to California, and already I miss him. Bravo won four of the last five Pegasus Stakes. Like most modern stakes, this year’s Pegasus drew five contenders with one heavy-hitter. The favorite has won or placed eight of the last eleven times. Yawn. Maybe the new unsafe and unpopular whip rule will change the outcome.

Lugamo will grab the lead, shadowed by Dr Jack and Weyburn. Mandaloun likes to track the pace, but he’s shown early speed before. He’ll need it from his inside post unless he settles behind the pace. As long as Geroux has a clear shot in the stretch, Mandaloun should win this. If not, perhaps Weyburn or even Dr Jack will get the jump on him. Brooklyn Strong hasn’t previously shown early speed, so let’s tag him for a lower exotic piece.

 

SELECTIONS

Ashley

 

Laurie

 

#2 MANDALOUN 3-5

#2 MANDALOUN 3-5

#3 DR JACK 5-1

#4 WEYBURN 7-2

#4 WEYBURN 7-2

#3 DR JACK 5-1

#1 BROOKLYN STRONG 9-2

#1 BROOKLYN STRONG 9-2

 



Meet Ashley Tamulonis

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, which led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation covering racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues and, from time to time, offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry. A move North to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the From Coast to Coast blog for HRN. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband, Chris, and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.

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