INGLEWOOD, Calif.-- Premier Pegasus will earn respect grudgingly.
He remained unbeaten after three races with a front-running win in Saturday's $100,000 Hollywood Prevue Stakes, but was not favored despite a stakes win over this track last month.
Premier Pegasus ($6) finished 1 1/2 lengths in front of another 2-1 chance, Industry Leader, who had scored a sharp maiden win last month.
In the Grade 3 Prevue, Premier Pegasus led by a half-length over pursuers Industry Leader and Awesome Patriot through early fractions of 23.08 and 46.34 seconds, and pulled clear in early stretch, leading by 2 1/2 lengths with a furlong remaining. Ridden by Alonso Quinonez, Premier Pegasus was timed in 1:22.78 for seven furlongs.
Industry Leader finished a length in front of 11-1 Awesome Patriot in the field of six. High Level Jeff, unbeaten in two starts at Calder, was sent off as the 9-5 favorite in his California debut, but could only finish fifth, never threatening the winner.
Quinonez has been aboard Premier Pegasus for the three wins, and said after Saturday's race that the colt is becoming more comfortable racing on the lead.
"The second time he relaxed so good," Quinonez said. "This time, it was even better. I had horses inside and he waited. When I asked him, he took off. I said, 'I better go before they get the jump on me.'"
Owned and trained by breeder Myung Kwon Cho, Premier Pegasus has earned $125,400. By Fusaichi Pegasus, Premier Pegasus beat maidens at Del Mar in a 44-1 shocker in July and won the Jack Goodman Stakes here on Oct. 23 as a 5-1 chance.