OCEANPORT, N.J. — Mandaloun is returning to racing for the first time since finishing second in the Kentucky Derby, for which he could still be named the winner if Medina Spirit is disqualified for failing a postrace drug test.
Trainer Brad Cox on Thursday entered Mandaloun in the Grade 1 Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park on Sunday. The 1-1/16 miles race for 3-year-olds drew a field of five and could serve as a prep race for the $1 million Haskell Stakes at Monmouth on July 17.
Mandaloun is being driven from Kentucky and is scheduled to arrive at the New Jersey shore racetrack on Friday.
“I want him to get some experience at Monmouth and I’m looking to use the race as a fitness tool, as a prep from the Haskell,” said Cox, who plans to fly in from Kentucky on Sunday morning to watch the race in person. “I didn’t want to go 11 weeks without a race. This was the race we thought made the most sense on the calendar.”
Postrace testing showed Medina Spirit had the anti-inflammatory steroid betamethasone in his system on May 1, when he was first to cross the Kentucky Derby finish line. A second sample also tested positive.
Trainer Bob Baffert and owner Amr Zedan filed a lawsuit in Kentucky on Monday, asking a judge to order racing officials to conduct more testing before stripping Medina Spirit of the Derby victory, which would take the purse money from them but not affect bettors because the result was made official.
In a civil action filed in Franklin Circuit Court, Baffert and Zedan Racing Stables asked for a temporary injunction barring the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission from taking action against their horse until additional tests can be run.
Two years ago, disqualified Kentucky Derby winner Maximum Security finished second as the 1-20 favorite to King for a Day in the Pegasus Stakes before going on to win the Haskell.
Mandaloun, a Kentucky-bred colt owned by Juddmonte Racing, has won three of six career starts and earned $961,252.
Cox posted his first win in a Triple Crown race on Saturday when 2-year-old champion Essential Quality won the Belmont Stakes in New York. The colt is shipping to Saratoga in July and pointing to the Travers Stakes.
The Louisville-born trainer said he’d like to keep Mandaloun and Essential Quality from racing against each other again for as long as possible. Essential Quality finished fourth in the Derby after going off as the favorite.
Mandaloun drew the No. 2 post for the Pegasus Stakes on Sunday and will be ridden by Florent Geroux.
Brooklyn Strong, who finished 15th in the Derby, drew the No. 1 post and will be ridden by Abner Adano. Dr Jack has the No. 3 post position, with Paco Lopez listed to ride. Weyburn, the long shot winner of the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes, got the No. 4 spot for Dylan David.
Lugamo and Angel Cruz will have the outside No. 5 post. The colt has not raced since a 12th-place finish on March 27 in the UAE Derby in Dubai.
The Pegasus Stakes odds were not immediately released.