- Mandaloun won Sunday’s $150,000 USD TVG Pegasus Stakes at New Jersey’s Monmouth Park.
- Mandaloun finished second in the Kentucky Derby though will likely be declared the winner after the presumptive disqualification of Bob Baffert’s Medina Spirit.
- Medina Spirit failed a postrace drug test and his status as the winner of the Kentucky Derby is in serious jeopardy.
Mandaloun won the Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park as expected. He looked to have dispatched his four rivals with ease, also as expected. What *wasn’t* expected is that Manaloun would appear to wait around for the other horses and almost lose the race that he won easily. Get all of that?
The presumptive ‘Kentucky Derby winner in waiting’ went off as a 3-10 favorite and had what amounted to a glorified scrimmage after a lengthy break following the ‘Run for the Roses’. Mandaloun had been idle since May 1 and he looked fit and ready for jockey Florent Geroux. In fact, Geroux likely had to work harder than his mount after the expected pace failed to materialize and the jockey had to re-strategize ‘on the fly’. The expectation was that Mandaloun would stay just off the pace but when that pace failed to materialize Geroux dropped his charge to the rear of the field.
Lugamo and Weyburn were at the front until the far turn. At that point, Lugamo began to fade and Weyburn took over–at least until Mandaloun began charging hard from the outside. He started drawing away down the stretch only to start dawdling near the finish. Ultimate, he crossed the finish line but Gotham Stakes winner Weyburn came within a neck of catching him in what would have been another bizarre entry into horse racing’s history books. Weyburn held on to finish second and Dr. Jack finished third. Mandaloun paid $2.60 to win, $2.10 to place and $2.10 to show. Weyburn returned $3.00 and $2.20 while Dr. Jack rewarded show bettors with a $2.60 payout. The 2-4 exacta paid $6.40 and the 2-4-3 trifecta paid $4.60.
Despite Mandaloun’s antics near the finish his jockey said he had a fairly easy day at the office:
“He was still running pretty good at the end. He had to work for it, but I don’t think it was a really hard race on him. He did not come back blowing hard at all.”
Trainer Brad Cox was happy with the effort–particularly with the unexpected pace:
“We thought he might be on the lead or tracking a couple. We found ourselves last going into the first turn. But, overall, it was a big effort. I think he closed into a soft pace. He probably had to start his run a touch early given the fact that he was last. He ran a big race.”
Next up for Mandaloun is the Haskell Stakes on this track in five weeks. This was supposed to be a ‘tune up’ for the horse but his lack of urgency near the finish leaves a number of questions about his ‘maturity’ on the track.