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Apr 08, 2011

Premier Pegasus favored in Santa Anita Derby


Arcadia, CA (Sports Network) - San Felipe Stakes winner Premier Pegasus has been made the morning-line favorite for Saturday's $1 million Santa Anita Derby. Santa Anita Park handicapper Jon White has installed the colt as the 8-5 top choice in the 11 horse field.

Owner-trainer Myung Kwon Cho has jockey Alonso Quinonez continuing his pairing with the colt for Saturday. The program favorite will start from post eight.

"I'm very happy with the horse," Cho said. "I liked the horse from his first race, but I didn't expect him to accomplish as much as he's had so far. I love him now."

Premier Pegasus' San Felipe victory was just his second start of the year. In February he was third in the San Vicente Stakes to The Factor who went on to capture the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park.

"The last race was his best yet, and I think the Santa Anita Derby distance of a mile and an eighth helps him," Quinonez said. "The longer he goes, the better he gets. Taking off the blinkers going a distance definitely helps a lot. When he lost to The Factor at seven-eighths, he needed that race. It was his first start in three months and he only had two works before the race. He kind of got a little tired on me the last sixteenth. But it really set him up for the San Felipe."

The colt has won four of five starts, including all three in 2010, and has career earnings of $293,400. As a two-year-old he won the Hollywood Prevue and John Goodman Stakes.

Silver Medallion, winner of the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields, is 9-2 in the morning-line and will break from post four. Trained by Steve Asmussen, the colt will be ridden by Garrett Gomez, who was aboard Silver Medallion in winning the Eddie Logan Stakes in December.

"The horse has a lot of potential," said Gomez. "When we won the Eddie Logan, he was laying second, but he was pulling my rear off the whole way. He was really into his game that day and he ran a really, really nice race for us. He came back and ran a good race up north in the El Camino Real.

"He looks like he's coming into his own and he?s been doing things real well since they've had him at Santa Anita and hopefully it continues."

Silver Medallion is owned by Michael Ryan and has won three of six starts for $212,904. Saturday's start will be his first on dirt.

Anthony's Cross, winner of the Robert B.Lewis Stakes, has drawn post nine with Joel Rosario riding. The colt, 6-1 in the program, is owned by Arianne de Kwiatkowski and trained by Eoin Harty.

The colt, a half-brother to Uncle Mo, has won two of six career starts for $195,020. He was third to Tapizar in the Sham Stakes in January before he wore blinkers for the first time in the Lewis Stakes.

"We've toyed with the idea off and on (of adding blinkers) since his first start and I just thought he'd come around and mature mentally on his own and he didn't," Harty said, "so I felt it was time to give him a little help. He's just been kind of a big Baby Huey and it's taken him a while to get focused. I was hoping he'd come around on his own. I didn't really want to rush to put the blinkers on him, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do."

Premier Pegasus, Silver Medallion and Anthony's Cross are all eligible for the Preakness 5.5 bonus. One of the three would have to win the Santa Anita Derby and the Preakness for his connections to collect the prize. The owner will receive an additional $5 million and the trainer $500,000.

Here is the full field for the Santa Anita Derby in post position order: Offlee Wild Boys, Joe Talamo, 50-1; Indian Winter, Pat Valenzuela, 15-1; Mr. Commons, Mike Smith, 12-1; Silver Medallion, Garrett Gomez, 9-2; Comma to the Top, Corey Nakatani, 8-1; Midnight Interlude, Victor Espinoza, 20-1; Quail Hill, Martin Pedroza, 50-1; Premier Pegasus, Alonso Quinonez, 8-5; Anthony's Cross, Joel Rosario, 6-1; Bench Points, Rafael Bejarano, 12-1 and Jaycito, Martin Garcia, 4-1.

All starters will carry 122 pounds in the race which has a post-time of 7:37 p.m. (et).

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