01/21/2009 1:00AM

Flying Pegasus needs time


Lecomte Stakes second-place finisher Patena worked five furlongs Wednesday at Fair Grounds and remains on course for the Risen Star Stakes there on Feb. 7. Third-place Lecomte finisher Au Moon hasn't worked back yet, but is galloping along nicely and remains on track for the Risen Star. But the Risen Star is probably not in the cards for another Fair Grounds-based 3-year-old with talent, Flying Pegasus, who might wind up making his 2009 debut at Oaklawn Park in the Feb. 16 Southwest Stakes, which is coming together with a surprisingly deep early-season field.

Flying Pegasus has plenty of ability - or did at age 2. He won his career debut over 4 1/2 furlongs on July 2 at Churchill, won a six-furlong Delaware Park allowance race in August, and finished a strong second behind the talented Charitable Man in the Grade 2 Futurity on Sept. 13 at Belmont Park. But Flying Pegasus injured a hind ankle, which required surgery to repair, and would be coming back from a layoff of about five months if he lands in the Southwest.

"I hate throw him to the wolves like that, but he doesn't have that allowance condition, so, what are you going to do?" trainer Ralph Nicks said.

The Risen Star Stakes comes up nine days earlier than the Southwest and is a half-furlong longer. The extra time and the shorter distance might work better for Flying Pegasus, who has posted three timed workouts after returning to Nicks's barn in November.

Flying Pegasus is by Fusaichi Pegasus and out of the graded-stakes-winning mare Lilly Capote. Nicks said he definitely wants to start the colt back in a route race, but isn't certain how much farther than a mile Flying Pegasus will comfortably run.

"He was very precocious, very smart. He's not a real tall horse, but he has enough length and enough efficiency to him," Nicks said. "In his work the other morning, I had him follow another horse till inside the eighth pole, and he was fine there. He was a little rank in the Futurity, but I think we can get him to settle."

Patena, who was closing late on Lecomte winner Friesan Fire on Jan. 10, breezed five furlongs in 1:01.80 on Wednesday.

"It was exactly what we wanted to do," said trainer Josie Carroll. "I couldn't be happier with the horse."

Au Moon was the surprising early leader in the Lecomte, and trainer David Carroll has since been working to make sure Au Moon won't fight to make the front in the Risen Star.

"We kind of changed up his training a little bit, galloping him behind horses to get him to relax," said Carroll. "He'll never be too far back, because he's a big, galloping horse without a big turn of foot. He's got talent, but I just don't know how much he has. This next race should help tell us where to go with him."

That goes not just for Au Moon, but for such horses as Patena and Flying Pegasus, too.

Secret Gypsy traveling to score

Secret Gypsy is a sharp horse now, and she has never won a graded stakes race. The coupling of those two facts has led trainer Ronny Werner to point the talented sprinter to the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie at Gulfstream Park rather than the Pan Zareta Stakes on Feb. 7 at Fair Grounds, where Secret Gypsy is based.

"If the race here were graded, I'd stay right here, but that's why we're going on the road," Werner said.

Secret Gypsy flashed her talent back in August 2007 when she won her career debut at Saratoga, setting a 5 1/2-furlong track record. But Secret Gypsy seems to be in the middle of her best sustained form period. She's run three good races in a row, and has trained on strongly since her easy victory in the Dec. 20 Esplanade at Fair Grounds.

"She fits at the top level, I think," Werner said.

Recapturetheglory takes a pass

The 2008 Illinois Derby winner Recapturetheglory was entered in a turf-sprint allowance race on Saturday at Fair Grounds, but trainer Louie Roussel said he was likely to scratch the horse and instead work him six furlongs on dirt Saturday morning.

"He's probably a work away," said Roussel, who also put another horse - Giant Hit - in the allowance race. "We entered, but we've decided he needs one more work."

Recapturetheglory is coming back from surgery to repair a chipped knee sustained during a poor performance in the West Virginia Derby. Recapturetheglory broke through the gate prior to the start of that race, Roussel said.