Pants On Fire Smokes Foes In Pegasus Stakes; Love That Dance Captures Open Mind 'Cap

Saturday, June 18, 2011

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Oceanport, N.J. – George and Lori Hall’s Pants on Fire gained command around the far turn and held off the late charge of Concealed Identity to capture the Grade 3, $200,000 Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park on Saturday. 

            Pants on Fire, a colt by Jump Start, was making his first start since finishing 9th in the Kentucky Derby on May 7.  After a slight stumble out of the gate, he sat a couple lengths off of fractions of :23 3/5 for the first quarter mile and :47 1/5 for the half.  Pants on Fire asserted himself after entering the far turn before reporting home a two-length winner. 

            “He stumbled a little bit coming out of the gate,” said winning trainer Kelly John Breen, “but he didn’t grab himself or lose a shoe – it was just a little stumble.  He was on a loose rein, so I wasn’t sure how much horse she (jockey Napravnik) had, but when she moved to the lead he looked strong.” 

            Sent off as the odds-on favorite in the field of five colts and geldings, Pants On Fire returned $3.20, $2.80 and $2.10 after covering the mile and a sixteenth over a fast main track in 1:42 4/5.  Concealed Identity paid $5 and $2.40 and completed the $12.40 exacta.  It was another four lengths back to pacesetter Turbo Compressor, who paid $2.20 to show.   

            “He was the best horse in the race,” said winning rider Anna Rose “Rosie” Napravnik.  “I think around the far turn, the horses in front started to get a little tired, so I just went for the lead.  This horse is very special to me.  He brought me to the Kentucky Derby, which hopefully won’t be a once in a lifetime experience.  He’s just a very special horse.” 

            The Pegasus win was the second graded stakes victory for Pants On Fire.  Earlier this year he captured the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, before heading to the Kentucky Derby. 

            A major prep for the Grade 1, $1,000,000 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth on July 31, the Pegasus winner could find himself headed to the Shore racetrack’s signature event:  “The Haskell is a definite possibility,” said Breen, who last week teamed with the Halls to capture racing’s third jewel in the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, with Ruler On Ice, who is also under consideration for the Haskell.