Countdown to the Kentucky Derby - 19 Days to Go!!

Countdown to the Kentucky Derby - 19 Days to Go!!

Fusaichi Pegasus was a striking colt that was bred and foaled in Kentucky by Arthur Hancock and Bob and Janice McNair’s Stonerside Ltd. The bay foal was regally bred, by the great Mr. Prospector, out of the Danzig mare, Angel Fever, who was a full sister to Preakness winner, Pine Bluff. The partnership entered their colt into the Keeneland Yearling Sale where he was purchased for $4 million by Fusao Sekiguchi. Sekiguchi named the colt by combining part of his name with the Japanese word “ichi”, meaning one, along with the winged horse made famous as part of Greek mythology.  

Sent to trainer Neil Howard for his conditioning, he made only one start as a 2YO, finishing second in a maiden race at Hollywood Park. At 3, the bay started his undertaking with a win in his first start, a maiden, prior to winning the San Felipe and the Wood Memorial.  Sent to Churchill Downs to take on the Derby, the colt who made headlines for his antics, behaved as a gentleman during the race. In front of 153,204, the second largest crowd at the time, Fusaichi Pegasus, with jockey Kent Desormeaux aboard, became the first favorite since Spectacular Bid in 1979 to win the coveted Run for the Roses. Breaking towards the inside, “Fu Peg” and Desormeaux saved ground by riding the rail in 15th throughout the backstretch. As they rounded the final turn, the duo swung off of the rail and burst forth to glide to victory by 1 ½ lengths over Aptitude in 2:01.12. The triumph made Fusaichi Pegasus the only son of Mr. Prospector to win the Kentucky Derby, along with giving Desormeaux his second victory after piloting Real Quiet in 1998.  

After a second place finish to Red Bullet in the Preakness, his connections decided to skip the Belmont. Fusaichi Pegasus went on to win the Jerome Handicap before his final race, the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Finishing off the board in 6th for the only time in his career, the highly sought after colt was purchased by Coolmore for $60 to $70 million and retired to Ashford Stud, where he has produced 70 black-type winners and 7 Grade I winners. Among his stakes winners are Roman Ruler, Haradason, and Blue Grass Stakes victor Bandini.  

(Photo courtesy of KDM archives)

Rickelle  Nelson

Rickelle Nelson

Reservations Manager for the Kentucky Derby Museum