Sunday’s $100,000 $150,000 Pegasus (G3) drew a solid field of seven three-year-olds that will use the 1 1/16 mile race as a stepping-stone to the marquee event of meeting on the Jersey Shore, the $1 million Haskell Invitational (G1) on July 27.
With Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome and Belmont Stakes winner Commissioner temporarily on the sidelines, the three-year-old division is wide open as head into the dog days of summer.
The Pegasus drew a pair of runners that exit Triple Crown races. The Gary Contessa trained Uncle Sigh (2-1) faded to finish 14th in the Kentucky Derby after pressing the early pace.
“I didn’t want him to be on the lead in the Derby,” said Contessa. “I wanted him anywhere but on the lead, but I think the tone of this race works very well for him. I think there’s enough speed in here, and breaking from the rail, he can find comfort behind the leaders. I expect him to be stalking the leaders, but ultimately he’ll be wherever Bravo (Jockey Joe) decides he wants him to be.”
Ring Weekend (3-1) had a rough trip in a fifth place finish in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. The Graham Motion trainee won the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) back in March, but was a distant second in the Calder Derby before his run in the Preakness.
Also figuring to get some of the betting action is the Larry Jones trained Albano (5-2), who makes his first start since a fifth in the Louisiana Derby (G2). The colt won the Sugar Bowl and was the runner up in the LeComte (G2) and Risen (G2) earlier this year.
Encryption (7-2) was a good looking maiden winner in his second career start, taking the field gate to wire and is going to be an early pace threat to Uncle Sigh. Lynx (8-1) will also face winners for the first time.
Completing the field are longshots Wildcatpleasures (20-1) and Allstar (30-1).
The co-feature on the Sunday card at Monmouth Park is the $60,000 Dan Horn Handicap for New Jersey breds that will go one mile on the turf. The race drew a full field of 14.
Let’s head out to the Jersey Shore for Sunday’s featured race of the day:
Monmouth Park Race 11 The Pegasus G3 (5:43 ET)
6 Albano 5-2
4 Ring Weekend 3-1
1 Uncle Sigh 2-1
3 Encryption 7-2
Analysis: Albano makes his first start since checking in fifth in the Louisiana Derby (G2) where he drew a tough post, was bumped around and did not have enough punch left late. He was our top pick in the Risen Star (G2) two back, set the early fractions, and just missed in a tough beat at 13-1. The Jones barn is 23% winners with runners coming back off a 61-180 day layoff and this guy should get a perfect tracking trip sitting just off the pace.
Ring Weekend looked like he was going to be a major player in the Kentucky Derby after winning the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) in his first start against winners, but came up short in the Calder Derby and then had a rough trip in the Preakness (G1) at 30-1. He is reunited with Centeno who was aboard for his win in Tampa and he may be better than he showed in his last two starts.
Uncle Sigh battled gamely with Samraat in the Withers (G2) and Gotham (G3), but came up short in the Wood (G1) and Derby. The colt draws the rail and owns the edge in early and mid pace numbers and the cut back in distance should suit There is enough early speed in here he will not have things easy early and anything less than his 2-1 morning line looks too short.
WIN: #6 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 4,6 / 1,3,4,6
TRI: 4,6 / 1,3,4,6 / 1,3,4,6,7
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