03/17/2017 11:16AM

Pegasus auction returning after five-year hiatus


It is uncommon to see an auction revived by popular demand after a five-year hiatus, but the Pegasus Training and Rehabilitation Center’s sale of 2-year-olds in training garnered a devoted following during its time away.

In just two editions in 2011 and 2012, each with catalogs of fewer than 30 horses, the sale produced graduates including multiple Grade 1 winner Belle Gallantey, Grade 2 winner Broken Sword, and Grade 1-placed Blonde Fog.

Initially used as a marketing tool for the then-fledgling training center owned by Mark Dedomenico, with Mike Puhich training the stock, the auction’s reputation grew with each new alumnus of note into a solid producer of runners.

“Initially, we did them to get people to come out to the farm and see the farm,” Dedomenico said. “But then we had some horses that made a million and half a million, and those guys have been driving us crazy to come back for another sale, so I told Mike, ‘Go ahead.’ We’re not going to get rich, but it’ll get people around and get them involved.”

The revived Pegasus sale will take place Tuesday at the Redmond, Wash., facility beginning at 1 p.m. Pacific. The presale under-tack show will take place on the property Monday at noon.

This year’s auction features the largest catalog to date, with 37 horses on offer prior to outs. The Pegasus staff has built web pages for each of the entries, featuring their pedigree pages, conformation shots, and video of their gallops and breezes on the track.

Since mid-November, the horses in the sale have been under the watch of Puhich and the Pegasus staff, which has exclusively broken and trained the horses leading up to the sale. The slate of offerings includes Dedomenico homebreds, horses purchased at the 2016 yearling sales for the Pegasus operation, and horses trained for outside clients.

Puhich said the private-stable nature of the Pegasus sale allowed him to train the horses at their own pace, with the goal of producing long-term runners instead of ones that can drill an eighth of a mile.

“We haven’t really opened them up that much. We haven’t put that much pressure on them in comparison,” Puhich said. “We are very active at the 2-year-old sales ourselves. We purchase horses for trainers at those sales. Generally, if you don’t give them time off after those sales to recover from the breezes, it’s kind of an uphill battle.

“Our philosophy is, from this sale, they should be able to be put on a van and be ready to go to the next level and start breezing and go to the track, as opposed to, ‘Man, they’ve been through so much, we’ve got to give them two or three months off to recover from all those fast breezes.’ ”

The expectation to produce high-level graduates has certainly risen since the initial two editions of the Pegasus sale, but the main goal of engaging owners and introducing them to the Pegasus facility remains.

Dedomenico highlighted the rehabilitation center’s partnership with Colorado State University, where Pegasus’s consulting surgeon, C. Wayne McIlwraith, is the director of orthopedic research, and its strides in the field of tendon regrowth with stem cells.

“Anybody that’s not been there, we’ll get them into the tour,” Dedomenico said. ”We have a hyperbaric chamber there, we have treadmills, we have big swimming pools for horses, all the diagnostic equipment is there. We’ve been doing some research into tendons and how to repair tendons, and we’ve been getting good results. It’s taken five years to get to this point, but we’re getting good results.”