The San Felipe Stakes has gone through many changes. Inaugurated in 1935, the event was only open to three-year-old horses of both sexes in 1952. World War II did cause some disruption in the running of this race, as the war affected many racecourses. Now this popular Grade II event is an anticipated race and is one of the Kentucky Derby official preparation races, as well as a prep race for the Santa Anita Derby. It has a purse of $250 000 and is run at the Santa Anita Racecourse. On Saturday, 12 March 2011, one horse took the San Filipe by storm.
There were ten horses in the competitor field for the 2011 San Felipe Stakes, and Premier Pegasus had settled into the middle of the field until the backstretch. Setting the pace, and in the lead, was Comma to the Top, but as the turn for home came in jockey Alonso Quinonez took Premier Pegasus away from the rail to allow him to have more space to move. The leaders began to consist of Runflatout, Jaycito, Comma on the Top and Premier Pegasus and it did not take long before Premier Pegasus began to draw in next to Comma on the Top and then begin to open the lead in the stretch. Premier Pegasus seemed to have endless reserves of strength and energy left, and stormed across the finish line unchallenged. He was followed home by Jaycito, Bench Points, Comma to the Top, Quail Hill, Awesome Patriot, Surrey Star, Jakesam, Albergatti and Runflatout. Premier Pegasus is both trained and owned by Myung Kwon Cho, and the victory was just what Premier Pegasus needed, according to his jockey.
Premier Pegasus proved his worth by winning all three of his first career starts. The San Vicente Stakes was a setback for him when he finished in third place, but Quinonez commented, “My horse’s last race was a good one. It’s no disgrace finishing behind The Factor and Sway Away. His last race helped him a lot. I think he really needed it.” Myung Kwon Cho has already indicated that Premier Pegasus will be in the starting gates on 9 April 2011 for the Santa Anita Derby.