Donegal Moon rallies for Pegasus victory

Profile Picture: Jen Caldwell

Jen Caldwell

June 19th, 2016

Donegal Moon put in a nice last-to-first rally in Sunday’s $154,500 Pegasus Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park to score by 1 1/4 lengths under jockey Joe Bravo.

The duo were content to settle in the rear of the seven-horse field after bobbling at the start. Meanwhile, Saratoga Jack led the way up front through splits of :23.70, :47.63 and 1:11.78 with Abiding Star keeping in close attendance through the half-mile mark. At that point the bay colt began fading as Awesome Slew moved up to challenge Saratoga Jack.

Donegal Moon was ready to run as well, and came charging up the rail entering the turn, then angled out and split rivals upon hitting the lane. The Todd Pletcher trainee kept motoring to complete 1 1/16 miles over the fast main track in 1:44.15 to return $15 as the 6-1 second choice.

“It’s so fun to ride for team Pletcher,” Bravo grinned. “Todd texted me earlier and the instructions worked out perfectly.

“There was so much early speed in the race and the race set up great for us. In the stretch, he really came running strongly.

“This was a fun two days,” added Bravo, who also on Saturday captured both the Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs and the Donald LeVine Memorial Stakes at Parx Racing.

Extinct Charm put in a late bid to take second by a neck over Awesome Slew, while Saratoga Jack finished another seven lengths behind in third. Unified, the 1-5 favorite, ended up fifth and was followed under the wire by Abiding Star and Memories of Winter.

Donegal Moon earned his first stakes victory in the Pegasus, one of two local preps for the $1 million Haskell Invitational (G1) on July 31, after finishing off-the-board in his five previous attempts. The most recent of those came at Pimlico on Preakness Stakes Day, May 21, when the Malibu Moon colt ran fourth in the Sir Barton Stakes.

With Sunday’s victory, Donegal Moon improved his career record to read 11-3-1-1 and boosted his lifetime earnings to $199,252.

Donegal Moon sold to his current connections as a $220,000 Keeneland September yearling. He’s the first registered stakes winner out of the Giant’s Causeway mare Perfect Cause, who is herself a daughter of 1995 champion turf mare Possibly Perfect. This female family also boasts multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Coil as well as Grade 1-scoring millionaire and sire Eddington.

Donegal Moon photo courtesy of Ryan Denver/Equi-Photo