Pneumatic Pulls Away in Pegasus
Winchell Thoroughbreds’ homebred Pneumatic notched his first stakes victory in the $155,000 TVG.com Pegasus Stakes Aug. 15 at Monmouth Park, pulling away in the stretch to win by 2 1/4 lengths.
The Pegasus was the last race on this year’s revamped Road to the Kentucky Derby schedule, awarding the top four finishers qualifying points for the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) on a 20-8-4-2 scale.
Pneumatic has a total of 45 points following the Pegasus and now sits 11th on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard, which determines the horses who gain entry to the classic. The Uncle Mo colt also earned points by finishing third in the May 23 Matt Winn Stakes (G3) and fourth in the June 20 Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1).
David Fiske, the racing and bloodstock manager for Winchell, said the Kentucky Derby isn’t the next planned step for Pneumatic following the Pegasus, but that connections will see how the colt comes out of the race before making any definite decisions.
“Depending on how he comes out, we might change our mind,” Fiske said of a possible Run for the Roses. “He would have to do something just amazing in the next two weeks for that to happen.”
Pneumatic, trained by Steve Asmussen, was ridden by Joe Bravo in the 1 1/16-mile Pegasus and raced three wide early in third. He sat off the pace of Arkaan, who led through fractions of :24.17, :48.28, and 1:12.80 for six furlongs. Wartime Hero was second on the rail.
Arkaan was down to a head advantage by the time he ran three-quarters of a mile and Pneumatic loomed on the outside before taking charge past the quarter pole. Jesus’ Team, fourth in the TVG.com Haskell Stakes (G1) a month ago at Monmouth, rallied wide but Bravo kept Pneumatic at task as his mount cruised across the finish line first. The final time on the fast track was 1:44.76.
“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,” Bravo said. “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, ‘OK, they’ve stayed with us for a little bit.’ I don’t 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.”
Jesus’ Team was second, 2 3/4 lengths ahead of Arkaan, who stayed on for third in the strung-out field. Eight lengths back was Super John, who was followed home by Wartime Hero, Big City Bob, Skyscanner, and As Seen On Tv.
Pneumatic paid $3.60 as the 4-5 favorite.
From five starts, the dark bay has three wins and a third and earnings of $256,850.
Bred in Kentucky, Pneumatic is the first foal out of Winchell’s stakes-placed Tapit mare Teardrop, a full sister to Silverbulletday Stakes (G3) winner War Echo and a three-quarters sister to Forego Stakes (G1) winner Pyro.
“I raised his mother, his grandmother, and his great-grandmother. He’s a true homeboy,” Fiske said after the Pegasus. “That was great to see.”
Teardrop has a 2-year-old filly by Candy Ride named Drop Off, a yearling colt by Gun Runner , and foaled another Gun Runner colt April 8. She was reported bred to Copper Bullet this year.