PREMIER PEGASUS (Fusaichi Pegasus) enhanced his role as the favorite for next Saturday's Santa Anita Derby (G1) with a sizzling five-furlong workout Saturday morning at the 8 a.m. (PDT) break on Santa Anita's fast main track. The impressive winner of the San Felipe S. (G2) was timed in a bullet :59 1/5 under regular rider Alonso Quinonez.
The move was the fastest of 17 recorded works at the distance.
"We talked to Alonso before the work and told him to get a nice, easy work. We wanted a slower work but I don't think we could get anything slower than that," said Raxon Cho, the 17-year-old son of owner/trainer/breeder Myung Kwon Cho, who was at his son's side.
"I'm very happy with the horse," the elder 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."
Raxon, an accomplished musician who plays saxophone, cello and piano, is enjoying the ride which he hopes will take Team Cho to the Kentucky Derby (G1) on May 7.
"Horse racing has always been exciting for me, but having a horse with this kind of capability is an amazing feeling, especially after how he ran in the San Felipe," he said. "We always wondered if he could go two turns or not, because you never know until they do it.
"Now we know we have a good horse and we're looking forward to next Saturday."
Grade 1 winner JAYCITO (Victory Gallop), who could run either face a rematch with Premier Pegasus in the Santa Anita Derby or go against Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie) in Aqueduct's Wood Memorial (G1) on the same day, turned six furlongs in 1:13 2/5 with Martin Garcia aboard on Saturday.
"He worked nice," Bob Baffert said. "We'll know (where he runs) tomorrow."
The bay sophomore closed his juvenile campaign with an unplaced run behind Uncle Mo in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1), and was second to Premier Pegasus last out in the San Felipe in his seasonal bow.
Also working on Saturday for the Santa Anita Derby was BENCH POINTS (Benchmark). Third by nine lengths in the San Felipe, the dual stakes winner sped five furlongs in :59 4/5 for trainer Tim Yakteen.
At Hollywood Park, C.B. Afflerbaugh S. hero and Santa Anita Derby hopeful CELESTIC NIGHT (Vindication) clocked three-quarters in a bullet 1:12 under Joe Talamo for trainer Mike Mitchell.
Up north at Golden Gate Fields, OFFLEE WILD BOYS (Offlee Wild) traveled six furlongs in 1:13 4/5 on the Tapeta in advance of a possible start in the Santa Anita Derby.
In other Santa Anita Derby news:
Conditioner David Hofmans said there is a "50-50" chance Robert B. Lewis S. (G2) third QUAIL HILL (Candy Ride [Arg]) would run in the Santa Anita Derby. The bay colt was last seen finishing fifth in the San Felipe.
Trainer Eoin Harty said ANTHONY'S CROSS (Indian Charlie) was scheduled to have his final major drill for the Santa Anita Derby on Monday. Unraced since taking the Lewis, the bay is set to work five furlongs at Hollywood.
Also expected to show up for the Santa Anita Derby are Grade 1 hero COMMA TO THE TOP (Bwana Charlie), Corey Nakatani; Grade 1-placed stakes scorer INDIAN WINTER (Indian Charlie), Patrick Valenzuela; MR. COMMONS (Artie Schiller), Mike Smith; and El Camino Real Derby (G3) victor SILVER MEDALLION (Badge of Silver), Garrett Gomez.