Barn Notes

Innocent Man Steps Up For Sunday's Pegasus

Posted Friday, Jun 15, 2012

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Innocent Man was sent from Southern California to contest Sunday’s Grade 3 $100,000 Pegasus Stakes for 3-year-olds so it’s a safe bet that trainer Patrick Biancone has high expectations for his lightly-raced charge. 

            “Exactly,” said Biancone after he supervised Innocent Man schooling in the gate at Monmouth on Friday morning. “He traveled very well, settled in nicely here, and stood in the gate perfectly when he went to the track.”  

            Innocent Man is a gelded son of multiple Grade 1 winner Henny Hughes, whom Biancone trained when he was a juvenile, and the Royal Academy mare Accusation. Henny Hughes was a gifted sprinter with an affinity for this track as he broke his maiden here in June of 2005 by six lengths and a year later whistled over the strip while winning the $150,000 Grade 3 Jersey Shore Stakes by 10 lengths. 

            “The reason that I bought Innocent man (for $18,000 at auction last December) is that he looks like his father very much. The way he is conformed is like his father and he is very fast, just like his father. On his mother’s side he has some stamina, so I’m hoping he will get the distance. We’ll know by six o’clock on Sunday night,” said Biancone. 

            The Pegasus will be run at one-mile-and-a-sixteenth and in all three of his lifetime starts, Innocent Man has run six furlongs. He won the first two races at Santa Anita gate-to-wire and then finished a game third last out in the $100,000 Chick Lang Stakes at Pimlico after stumbling at the start and then encountering more trouble. 

            His Beyer Speed figure of 98 two races back is the best of any horse in the field of seven and Innocent Man drew the rail in a race with plenty of early speed. What figures to be a hot pace scenario may benefit Good Morning Diva, who will break from the outside post and likes to come from farther back. 

            Trained by Tim Hills, Good Morning Diva is dropping down from the Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes last out when he closed well to finish fourth after a terrible trip on May 12. Leading rider Elvis Trujillo will be aboard for the first time. 

            “He got buried in a ridiculous pace in a big field and then ate so much dirt and didn’t like it,” said Hills. “It was such a rough trip that I was really surprised that when he got swung outside, he came running. He’s coming into the race in great shape. He’s not a work horse but Elvis was on him the other morning and he breezed really good (1:01.40 for five furlongs) for him.” 

            Midnight Serenade, Le Bernardin, Unbridled’s Way, Easter Gift and Speeding Again complete the field for the Pegasus. 

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