Secures Spot In Derby If Desired
By Dick Downey
The 2020 Road to the Kentucky Derby concluded with Pneumatic easily winning the 1 1/16-mile Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park.
Ridden by Joe Bravo for trainer Steve Asmussen and owner-breeder Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC, Pneumatic stalked pacesetter Arkaan and longshot Wartime Hero through a quarter-mile in 24.17 and a half in 48.28. Heading into the far turn, Wartime Hero was backing up, but Pneumatic inhaled Arkaan to take the lead with six furlongs booked in 1:12.80, Pneumatic opened up a daylight lead and hit the finish line in 1:44.76. His margin of victory was 2 1/4 lengths.
Jesus' Team got up late in the stretch to pass Arkaan by another 2 3/4 lengths. Super John finished fourth, beaten 13 lengths.
Those four were followed across the finiish line by Wartime Hero, Big City Bob, Skyscanner and As Seen on Tv, who hardly ran a step.
Pneumatic had 25 Kentucky Derby points going into the race and picked up 20 more, which will secure him a spot in the Derby starting gate should connections choose to go. The other Derby points that were up for grabs will likely be unclaimed, as Jesus' Team and Arkaan are not nominated to the Triple Crown and Super John only has two points.
Pneumatic, a son of Uncle Mo, is out of Teardrop, by Tapit. The Pegasus victory ran his record to three wins from five starts with one show. His only off-the-board performance was a fourth-place finish in the Belmont Stakes won by Tiz the Law
Pneumatic returned $3.60, $2.60 and $2.20 on $2 win, place and show tickets. Jesus' Team paid $3.40 and $2.40 to place and show, and Arkaan $3.20 to show.
Winning trainer Steve Asmussen was at Saratoga and was unavailable to talk.
Winning jockey Joe Bravo: “I talked to Steve and his assistant Scott Blasi this morning, and they were really excited about the horse. But you never really know until you sit on them. He was just in full control the whole time. A very relaxed animal . He was going very smoothly. I give credit to the other two horses for hanging with him for second and third, because we kicked so solidly turning for home, and I looked and I said `okay, they’ve stayed with us for a little bit.” I don’ know what their plans are going forward with this horse, but I’d like to say he did this very effortlessly and well within himself."