Daily Racing Form reports that PREMIER PEGASUS (Fusaichi Pegasus), the 8-5 morning-line favorite for Saturday's Santa Anita Derby (G1), is sidelined with a hairline fracture to his cannon bone.
The winner of the San Felipe S. (G2) by a record margin last time out, Premier Pegasus was ranked as the West Coast's leading Kentucky Derby (G1) contender.
Assistant trainer Maria Ayala told the DRF that Premier Pegasus stumbled slightly during a routine gallop on Santa Anita's training track Thursday morning. Subsequent X-rays discovered the injury to his left foreleg.
Bred, owned and trained by Myung Kwon Cho, Premier Pegasus has compiled a sterling 5-4-0-1 mark with $293,400 in earnings. He was unbeaten as a juvenile, capturing the Jack Goodman S. and Hollywood Prevue (G3), and suffered his only loss when third to The Factor (War Front) in the February 20 San Vicente S. (G2) in his sophomore debut.
Premier Pegasus next stretched out to two turns in the San Felipe, where he rated off the pace and powered to a 7 3/4-length triumph over JAYCITO (Victory Gallop).
News of Premier Pegasus' injury-induced scratch came to Santa Anita Stakes Coordinator Zachary Soto early Thursday afternoon.
"Rafael Martinez, who is Mr. Cho's assistant, called me in the Racing Office at about 1:25 p.m.," Soto said. "Rafael said, 'The horse (Premier Pegasus) is hurt and he can't run. Please put in a scratch.'"
In the absence of Premier Pegasus, Jaycito has now inherited morning-line favoritism for the Santa Anita Derby. The Bob Baffert trainee has been installed by Santa Anita Morning Line Maker Jon White as the 2-1 favorite.
El Camino Real Derby (G3) winner SILVER MEDALLION (Badge of Silver), from the Steve Asmussen barn, is now the 7-2 second choice on the morning line.