12/18/2009 12:00AM

Flying Pegasus launches comeback

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NEW ORLEANS - Flying Pegasus makes his return in Sunday's 10th race, a second-level optional $40,000 claimer. Off since June following knee surgery, Flying Pegasus will use this race to prepare for his 4-year-old campaign.

Flying Pegasus finished second in the Grade 2 Futurity at Belmont Park in the fall of 2008, throwing his name into Kentucky Derby consideration last winter. His second-place effort to Friesan Fire in the Grade 3 Risen Star here at Fair Grounds in February did nothing to dampen hopes.

After sitting off the pace in the early going of the Louisiana Derby, Flying Pegasus came up empty in the stretch on a sloppy track, finishing sixth, more than 13 lengths behind Friesan Fire.

"You're always glad to get the ones back that you have high expectations for," said trainer Ralph Nicks. "He had knee surgery in the spring, and he seems to be happy, and he's training well."

Flying Pegasus is a James Spence homebred by Fusaichi Pegasus, and will be making just his fourth start of the year.

"They have to come back and prove what they are after their 3-year-old season, and he missed his 3-year-old season," said Nicks.

Sunday's mile-and-40-yard race has drawn a field of eight and Nicks isn't looking past this race.

"This race fits his condition," said Nicks. "There's some tough older horses in there, but you have to start somewhere and see where it takes him."