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The following post appeared earlier this week at Paulick Report.

The victory of Premier Pegasus in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday offered a huge lifeline to his sire, the relatively unappreciated Fusaichi Pegasus. The once-popular stallion’s rehabilitation from “failure” to “solid sire” began last year with 2010 G1 winner Champ Pegasus, who also ran second in the Breeders’ Cup Turf and has won at the G2 level again this year. In addition, Fusaichi Pegasus had a pair of 2-year-old stakes horses of note last season.

More surprising than that was the fact that both were racing for Myung Kwon Cho, who owns and bred Premier Pegasus and who purchased Riveting Reason.

The San Felipe winner is the second high-class winner out of Cho’s broodmare Squall Linda. The 15-year-old Squall Linda has long been a part of the Cho racing and breeding program. The owner-breeder-trainer purchased the daughter of Preakness Stakes winner Summer Squall for $62,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale in 1997.

Cho raced the mare successfully, winning three races from 17 starts and getting a second in the G3 Monrovia Handicap with her for earnings of $154,727.

When Cho decided he wanted to give his better mares more opportunity in breeding, he began working with Jun Park, an international bloodstock agent and adviser based in Lexington. Park said, “Mr. Cho wanted to give Squall Linda a good chance to be a good mare. So he sent the mare to Kentucky, and I picked some stallions for her. We discussed which would match with her. Since she’s a Northern Dancer-line mare (descending from Northern Dancer’s European champion son Storm Bird and his son Summer Squall), I recommended Mr. Prospector stallions for her.”

In this plain, commonsense approach to mating, Park was pursuing the most popular cross in breeding over the past 20 years or more, and once again, it worked.

The first winner on this cross for Squall Linda was her second foal, the Grand Slam colt Double Galore, who won $133,640. The second horse bred on the cross, and the mare’s fourth foal, was a colt by Street Cry.

Park said, “I liked Street Cry as a racehorse. He not only won the Dubai World Cup, but he also was a top-class 2-year-old. I liked the speed and early maturity for this mare. In the discussion about this mating, Mr. Cho picked out some very interesting factors in the match relating to inbreeding to Natalma that made the suggestion even more appealing.”

The result was Street Hero, a scopy and athletic bay colt who won the G1 Norfolk and ran third in both the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the Del Mar Futurity. Now standing his third season at stud in Kentucky at Vinery, Street Hero has yearlings of 2011.

Premier Pegasus is two years younger than Street Hero and is even more directly a product of the Mr. Prospector – Northern Dancer cross because Fusaichi Pegasus is a son of the grand old stallion.

Ironically, however, their work on the mating that produced Street Hero made the breeder and adviser want to repeat it when they saw how well the result turned out. But when Cho tried to go back to Street Cry with Squall Linda, the now hyper-fashionable Street Cry could not accommodate her. But the Kentucky Derby winner could.

And the rest is a fascinating story about the unpredictable twists of breeding lore. Premier Pegasus was the result, and the handsome bay colt has won four of his five starts and will be one of the hot properties coming into the G1 Santa Anita Derby. Success there will bring him to the Big Show in Louisville.

Squall Linda has a 2-year-old by the Seeking the Gold stallion Bob and John, and Park noted the colt is training well. The mare has a yearling full brother to Street Hero, but her foal of 2011 by Empire Maker was born two months early and died. Plans for this year’s mating are not completed.

 

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