Head to Head: Handicapping Monmouth's Pegasus Stakes

Head to Head: Handicapping Monmouth's Pegasus Stakes
Photo: Coady Photography

The $150,000 Pegasus Stakes is the final qualifier for the 2020 Kentucky Derby, offering a 20-8-4-2 points scale.  A field of eight 3-year-old colts and geldings will contest 1 1/16-miles over Monmouth’s main track.

Ashley Tamulonis of Coast To Coast and I review the field and sort out the contenders from the pretenders.




Skyscanner has just a maiden win to his credit, but he was a solid second in the Sapling at Monmouth in his second start. A couple more strides and he would have had the win. He was also second last out, getting nailed at the wire. He races with first-time blinkers here, which could make the difference.

Last year’s Sapling Stakes runner-up has finished out of the money only once. In his last start, the Jeremiah O'Dwyer trainee tracked the pace three to four-wide before making his move after a half-mile. Skyscanner had a clear lead down the stretch, despite drifting out, but couldn’t hold off a late charge, missing by a head. His speed figures are improving, and he’s getting a shiny new set of blinkers to help him focus. He should be capable of carrying his speed from the rail..



This Shanghai Bobby colt is undefeated at Monmouth as well as grade one placed. The big issue here is the big layoff prior to the Private Term in March and the layoff coming into this spot. He’s definitely a contender, but fitness could be an issue.

Sapling Stakes winner Big City Bob showed talent and a preference for Monmouth, and he’s winless elsewhere. He’s coming in off a long layoff with slow works. Maybe he’ll surprise and run well fresh for a lower placing, but there are others in her I like better.  



Out of St. John’s River, who had the misfortune to come along with a fantastic crop of fillies, Wartime Hero just broke his maiden in his last start. He definitely has the pedigree to be good, but he certainly has not shown much yet. I really want to like him, but not today.

By Empire Maker out of a Kentucky Oaks runner-up, Wartime Hero is bred to be a slower maturing type who should appreciate distance. Surprising that the Wests’ would let their $300,000 yearling go in a $50,000 maiden claimer in just his third start. The Hugh McMahon trainee is one of two in here who can settle behind the pace.



Super John ran well off his seven-month layoff last month, grabbing the lead only to be nailed nearing the wire. He should improve second off the layoff and could be one to watch at a price.

Super John has hit the board in his last three starts all at a mile as a pacesetter/presser. His pedigree screams classic distances, but he has a sprinter/miler mindset; he lost ground in two of his last three starts, and was drifting at the end of his last start.



This son of Uncle Mo takes a big step down in class after running 4th in the Belmont (G1) behind Kentucky Derby frontrunner Tiz The Law (that was a really bizarre thing to say). I liked him in both the Matt Winn (G3) and the Belmont, and I like him here. Win contender.

I was all excited about the regally-bred Pneumatic going into the Matt Winn Stakes. I gave him an excuse in that race, thinking he didn’t like the rail. Then he was wide in the Belmont Stakes. Has the Asmussen trainee finally found a field he can beat? He gets Monmouth legend Joe Bravo in the saddle and the track’s speed bias suits. Win Contender.



This well-bred son of Into Mischief’s dam is a half-sister to millionaire Master Command, who sired Kentucky Derby runner-up Commanding Curve. Arkaan certainly has the pedigree to route though he has so far only traveled six panels while staying undefeated and unchallenged. At 9-2 on the morning line, I definitely have to take a shot here.

This lightly raced and untested son of Into Mischief hails from the family of Munnings and Icon Project. The Michael Pino trainee is stretching out, but he should handle it, and it isn’t much of a jump in class. Upset win contender.  



As Seen On Tv has not been seen since finishing a distant eighth in the Florida Derby (G1) back in March. Prior to that, he was third in the Fountain of Youth (G2). So the back class is there, but fitness will be key.

As Seen On TV was distantly seen finishing 50 lengths behind Tiz the Law in the Florida Derby. He’s back after taking a commercial break and has been logging sharp works at Monmouth. Kelly Breen sent Pants on Fire to win the 2011 Pegasus. As Seen on TV  figures to be part of the pace scenario. Stay tuned to see whether he’ll handle it or be canceled in the stretch.



Jesus’ Team went from maiden claimer to hitting the board in the Haskell (G1) in a span of four months. I loved his sire, but I am just not convinced that this colt should be at such low odds. Maybe.

Jesus’ Team takes a step back in class and distance. He fits with this group, and he can track the early speed. He’s another with a legitimate shot.


Final Thoughts

Laurie: The final Kentucky Derby qualifiers end with the Pegasus Stakes. It’s a feeling of having stayed too long at the bar. It’s closing time, and looking around, there aren’t many in here that spark my interest as Kentucky Derby contenders. Last year, Uncle Mo’s son King for a Day upset Maximum Security in the Pegasus. This year, his son Pneumatic will be one of the favorites as he tries to earn enough points to make it to the Kentucky Derby.  Pacesetters or pressers won the Pegasus seven of the last ten years, and favorites won half of the time.


Ashley:  A pretty good field has assembled for the Pegasus, and my knee jerk selection would have to be Pneumatic. Arkaan has the pedigree and probably the talent to handle the added distance, not that it’s a lot, and As Seen On Tv did well down in Florida prior to a disastrous run in the Florida Derby.







#6 Arkaan (9-2)

#5 Pneumatic (5-2)

#5 Pneumatic (5-2)

#6 Arkaan (9-2)

#2 Big City Bob (8-1)

#1 Skyscanner (10-1)

#4 Super John (6-1)

#8 Jesus’ Team (3-1)

Meet Laurie Ross

 HRN Pedigree Analyst 


 Published Author

 Pedigree Research/Consultation/Sales 

 ThoroFan Board Member

 Member – NTWAB

Through hands-on work at barns, I learned valuable lessons about Thoroughbred conformation, gait, and temperament and later worked withThoroughbred rescue/re-train organizations. I have committed my passion for horses to the intensive study of pedigree and breeding theory for the last 20 years. 

I support clients with all aspects of pedigree/breeding analysis, research, sales, catalogue review, and recommendations on claims or private sales. Clients include national leading owners, racing/breeding syndicates, the little guy with one mare, and everyone in between. 10-20% of all proceeds are donated to Thoroughbred rescue & retraining groups. Check out my website, Iron Maidens Thoroughbreds, and the IMTBreds blog.

I welcome your questions regarding pedigree, handicapping, and breeding. If you would like me to cover a specific topic, please contact me. 

Twitter: @IMTBreds
Facebook: IMTBreds
LinkedIn: Laurie Ross

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