News & Barn notes

Trainer Miguel Vera Has High Hopes For His Two Colts In Sunday’s $100,000 Pegasus Stakes

June 14, 2018

6-16-17 Sea Raven 300

Trainer Miguel Vera knew the day was coming when he would find out whether all of the patience and time he invested in two of his promising 3-year-olds would pay off. That day could be Sunday and the $100,000 Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park, the highlight of a 13-race Father’s Day card that features four stakes races. 

Vera, stabled at Monmouth Park for the first time, is scheduled to send out two of his talented-but-lightly-raced sophomores in the mile and a sixteenth race for 3-year-olds. 

Both Hydraulic, 2-for-2 lifetime, and Forced, a speedster who has actually been headed just once in three career starts, were unraced as 2-year-olds. 

Hydraulic didn’t even make it to the starting gate until April 14 at Laurel Park, when his debut resulted in a 4½-length romp. 

“He’s such a big horse. He just wasn’t ready as a 2-year-old so we were very slow with him,” said Vera. “He’s not just a big horse, he’s a heavy horse. I did not want to rush him because of that.” 

Showing restraint with Hydraulic wasn’t easy, though. 

“We knew he had talent from the beginning,” Vera said.           A $260,000 yearling purchase, Hydraulic impressed jockey Edgar Prado enough that the Hall of Fame rider will be in to ride the son of Mineshaft-Bridles Prayer, as he has done for both of the colt’s starts so far. The second start was a 3½-length allowance score at Parx on May 14. 

“It’s a great feeling to have a jockey of his caliber riding for you,” said Vera. “He wants to ride this horse wherever he goes. He liked this horse from the beginning, from when he first breezed him.” 

Forced, a $120,000 yearling purchase, shows a deceptive line of a win and a second from three career starts. After breaking his maiden at Tampa Downs in an easy victory on Feb. 22, Forced won an allowance race at Parx on April 21 by 8¼  lengths – only to be disqualified. The Take Charge Indy-Andes colt returned to be second by a nose in the $90,000 Gold Fever Stakes at Belmont Park on May 13, losing to the Chad Brown-trained Engaged. 

“He had some issues as a 2-year-old too, so we had to take our time with him,” said Vera. “I’m not the kind of person to push a 2-year-old if they’re not ready. I like to take my time and my owners (Newtown Anner Stud) let me take my time. So far it has worked out.” 

Vera thinks Hydraulic will get better the longer he goes, but isn’t as certain about Forced, whose three career starts have all been sprints. 

“I’m not sure about this distance for Forced,” he said. “I think he’s going to be an even better horse next year with some experience. He can still have a very good sprinting. 

“This a good test for Hydraulic. I think he’s ready. I’m excited for him in this race because I have a lot of confidence in him. I know he can handle this.” 

A field of eight is entered for the Pegasus Stakes, which will be preceded on the card by the $75,000 Regret Stakes, the $75,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes and the $60,000 Dan Horn Handicap.