Awesome Slew hopes for Pegasus glory
Abiding Star won the Private Terms at Laurel in March. Photo by Laurie Asseo.
From a Monmouth Park release
Awesome Slew looks to keep his Monmouth Park career record unblemished as he takes on six other three-year-olds in the Grade 3, $150,000 betfair.com Pegasus Stakes, at a mile and a sixteenth on Sunday.
“He is doing really well,” said trainer Eddie Plesa Jr., who conditions the horse for Live Oak Plantation. “He missed some of the races we planned for in the winter, but we’ve had this race targeted for a while and it’s a good spot for him.”
Awesome Slew is coming off a win in his 2016 debut, after a 10-month layoff, in a $50,000 allowance optional claiming event on May 21 going six furlongs, where he sat off the early pace before storming home to a three-length score.
The 3-year-old colt by Awesome Again out of the Seeking the Gold mare Slewfoundmoney broke his maiden at Monmouth in his first try last year, besting his foes by a length and a quarter.
The only loss in Awesome Slew’s three career starts was last year’s Sanford at Saratoga where he broke slow from the rail, but closed late to finish fourth by two lengths.
Awesome Slew, 6-1 on the morning line for the Pegasus, has worked once since his victory on May 21. He went a mile in 1:44 3/5 over the Monmouth dirt on June 2, the only one to go the distance on that day.
“The work was to get some stamina into him before going around two turns,” said Plesa Jr. “He is bred to go long.”
Awesome Slew is not the only horse in the race making just his fourth career start. Jimmy Jerkens’ Unified tries two turns for the first time as he puts his undefeated record on the line. Unified is coming off victories in the Grade 3 Bay Shore at Aqueduct and, most recently, the Grade 2 Peter Pan at Belmont. He is the even-money morning line favorite.
Abiding Star (5-1), out of the barn of Ned Allard, comes in off a start in the Preakness and has won five of his last six starts including the Parx Derby and Private Terms at Laurel, each in front-running fashion. He most recently ran 11th in the Grade 1 Preakness after pressing the early pace.
Todd Pletcher trainee Donegal Moon (3-1) enters off a fourth-place finish behind highly touted American Freedom in the Sir Barton over Preakness weekend at Pimlico. That race’s runner-up, Voluntario, returned a winner against Pimlico allowance foes.
“The plan is to probably sit just off the early pace,” said Plesa Jr.
Paco Lopez will be back aboard Awesome Slew in the Pegasus. The current jockey leader at the meet has ridden him in each of his previous three starts.