Coach Brad Cox is looking for TVG.com Pegasus Stakes Sunday in Monmouth Park to serve a dual purpose for the Kentucky Derby Mandalon runner-up.
The first is to get some extra fitness for your fast-paced 3-year-old, who has been idle since May 1. The other is to give his son. in hurt Race over the track.
Both are central to creating the next Mandalon start: the $1 million Haskell Stakes competition on July 17, the first-class race that is the centerpiece of the Monmouth Park meet.
said Cox, who plans to fly from Kentucky Sunday morning to watch the race in person. “I didn’t want to go 11 weeks without a race. That was the race we thought made the most sense on the calendar.”
The 40th Pegasus Stakes, at mile and sixteen for 3-year-olds, has a recent history suggesting that Cox’s horse should earn what he gets.
Two years ago, the Kentucky Derby winner Maximum Security finished second as the 1-20 favorite for King for a day at Pegasus Stakes before winning the Haskell race.
Mandalon, a Kentucky colt owned by Godmonte, owns a 3-1-1 streak of six starting careers with earnings of $961,252. He will enter Pegasus after a six-week absence.
“He’s doing an amazing job,” Cox said. “Obviously we won’t come if he’s not feeling well. He’s shipping today (Thursday) and hopefully he’ll settle down quickly and be ready for Sunday.”
These are tough times for Cox, who is also charting the timeline for the Belmont Stakes winner and last year’s two-year-old Essential Quality champion. Cox plans have Basic Quality to ship to Saratoga in July and refer to Travers Stakes.
As frantic as he is, Cox wouldn’t have him any other way.
“I love everything about it,” he said. “That’s why you get up and do this and spend so much time and effort and basically dedicate your life to it. It’s the big stage.”
“For me, three-year-olds on the dirt turn, that’s it. This is the division that I love. The Triple Crown is a tough thing for horses and it takes special horses to compete at this level. I feel very lucky to be a part of it.”
The mandalon’s stalking style, close to the pace, seems a perfect fit for Monmouth Park, too.
“It usually gets put on top,” Cox said. “Anytime you’re as fast as he does it’s a huge advantage. I’m not saying he’s going to be in the lead in this race but he’ll be near the lead I’m sure of. Anytime you have his running style he usually puts you in a good position.” .
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