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PREMIER PEGASUS OUT OF SANTA ANITA DERBY, UNSPECIFIED INJURY CITED IN DEFECTION OF FAVORITE
ARCADIA, Calif. (April 7, 2011)—Premier Pegasus, the 8-5 morning line favorite for Saturday’s Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby, has been declared out of the race by his connections due to an unspecified injury.
“Rafael Martinez, who is Mr. Cho’s (trainer, Myong Kwon Cho) assistant, called me in the Racing Office at about 1:25 p.m.,” said Zachary Soto, Santa Anita Park Stakes Coordinator. “Rafael said ‘The horse (Premier Pegasus) is hurt and he can’t run. Please put in a scratch.’”
Soto noted that there was no further specificity as to the location or extent of the injury to the son of 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus.
Calls to Cho and his son, Raxon, were unreturned as of 1:55 p.m. PST.
Premier Pegasus, who is owned, trained and was bred in Kentucky by Cho, was to enter the Santa Anita Derby on the heels of a sensational 7 3/4 length win in the Grade II San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita on March 12. The margin of victory established an all-time San Felipe record. The San Felipe was run for the 74th time this year.
With the defection of Premier Pegasus, 10 horses are currently scheduled to compete in the prestigious 1 1/8 miles race for 3-year-olds.
Jaycito, trained by Bob Baffert and most recently second to Premier Pegasus in the San Felipe, has now been installed by Santa Anita Morning Line Maker Jon White as the 2-1 Derby favorite. The Steve Asmussen-conditioned Silver Medallion is now the 7-2 second choice on the morning line.
The Santa Anita Derby is the 10th race on an 11-race card Saturday. Derby post time is 4:37 p.m., PDT. First post time on Saturday is 12 noon.