06/13/2013 4:49PM

Monmouth Park: Verrazano, Itsmyluckyday to square off in Pegasus Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
The Pegasus will be Verrazano's first start since he finished 14th in the Kentucky Derby.

Verrazano drew the rail and Itsmyluckyday has post 6 in the Grade 3, $150,000 Pegasus Stakes on Sunday at Monmouth Park.

The Pegasus is the first local stop on the road to the $1 million Haskell Invitational on July 28. It also is one of the strongest renewals in recent years of the Pegasus, a race that originated at the Meadowlands.

The first major 3-year-old stakes following the conclusion of the Triple Crown drew a field of seven with six betting interests going 1 1/16 miles.

Reporting Star and Kanturk Kid will be an entry for trainer Kathleen O’Connell.

Verrazano was ranked a top contender for the Kentucky Derby following his victory in the Wood Memorial that stretched his undefeated streak to four.

[PEGASUS STAKES: Get PPs, watch Sunday's Monmouth card live]

Verrazano did not handle the slop at Churchill Downs on Derby Day, finishing 14th. He came out of the race with a gash on his left hock that trainer Todd Pletcher said did not require stitches.

This will be his first start since the Derby. Regular rider John Velazquez will be aboard.

Itsmyluckyday was another colt who struggled in the Derby slop. The runner-up to Orb in the Florida Derby finished 15th at Churchill Downs, one position behind Verrazano.

Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. blamed the poor outing on the wet track and was rewarded two weeks later when Itsmyluckyday rebounded with a solid second behind Oxbow in the Preakness.

Plesa, pointing to the Haskell as a long-term goal, passed on the Belmont to give Itsmyluckyday a less demanding race in the Pegasus over his home track.

With Velazquez committed to Verrazano, Mike Smith, fresh from his Belmont Stakes win aboard Palace Malice, picks up the mount aboard Itsmyluckyday.

Edge of Reality, Gefest, and Bethel complete the field.

The final Monmouth prep for the Haskell will be the $100,000 Long Branch Stakes on July 7.