Updated on 04/08/2011 8:43PM

Premier Pegasus to have surgery for injury

Benoit Photo
Premier Pegasus was found to have a hairline fracture after a gallop Thursday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Premier Pegasus, the early morning-line favorite in Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby before being sidelined Thursday because of a hairline fracture in the cannon bone of his left foreleg, was scheduled to undergo surgery Friday afternoon to stabilize the injury.

Maria Ayala, assistant to owner-trainer Myung Kwon Cho, said the surgery was expected to insert one screw in the affected area, which she said was on the outside of the cannon bone. The injury will keep Premier Pegasus out of training for several months.

Premier Pegasus was the 8-5 morning-line favorite for the Santa Anita Derby before the injury was announced early Thursday afternoon.
“The doctor said he will be out for two months or more,” she said. “I saw the X-rays. The doctor said it’s better with one” screw.

The injury was diagnosed after Premier Pegasus galloped on Santa Anita’s infield training track Thursday morning. Ayala and Cho decided to keep Premier Pegasus off the main track because of concern that the colt would run off under his exercise rider, Ayala said.

During the gallop, Ayala said she noticed that Premier Pegasus stumbled. It was after the colt cooled out following a bath that she noticed he was quieter than normal and was not walking sound.

“I know my horse,” she said. “He usually bites and plays and yesterday – no – he was very quiet. When he finished [the bath], I saw the left shin and I called Mr. Cho.”

Premier Pegasus vaulted into the Kentucky Derby picture with a commanding win by 7 3/4 lengths in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on March 12, a performance that pushed him to the fore of the California 3-year-old division.

By 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus, Premier Pegasus has won 4 of 5 starts and $293,400. Last summer and fall, Premier Pegasus won his first three starts, including the Jack Goodman Stakes and Hollywood Prevue Stakes for sprinters at Hollywood Park. Earlier this year, he was third in the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes over seven furlongs behind Kentucky Derby hopeful The Factor.

“I was excited about the horse,” she said. “I’ve worked here for 22 years, and he’s a special horse.”