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Fusao Sekiguchi and Teruya Yoshida's Kentucky Derby hero FUSAICHI PEGASUS returned to competition in Saturday's $150,000 Jerome Handicap at Belmont Park with some questions to answer and facing several rivals with excellent current form in the historic one mile fixture.

The Mr. Prospector colt answered emphatically that he was back and means business, rather easily running by rivals in the stretch to win by a measured, three-quarters of a length under regular rider Kent Desormeaux.

The Jerome marked the colt's first start since finishing second on a 'sticky' Pimlico track in the Preakness behind Red Bullet. Most of the news about Fusaichi Pegasus since the Triple Crown centered on his record syndication for stud duty beginning next year, estimated to be as much as $60-$70 million.

Ever-patient trainer Neil Drysdale didn't finally reveal his prize charge would start in the Jerome until early in the week, maintaining for months that the only definite plan for the colt was to get to the Breeders' Cup Classic, which will be his final career start.

After the Jerome, Drysdale would not commit to a final prep for the Classic, although he did concede that the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup on Sat., Oct. 14 (NBC, 4:30-6:00 p.m. ET) at Belmont was an option. Pointing for that race is Jeanne Vance's 4-year-old Lemon Drop Kid, current leader of America's handicap division.

Fusaichi Pegasus's campaign this year bears some resemblance to that of Drysdale-trained star A.P. Indy in 1992. The latter won the Belmont Stakes that spring but missed the summer, returning in time for two races before capturing the Classic at Gulfstream and Horse-of-the-Year honors.

Prior to the classic, A.P. Indy made his return in the Molson Million at Woodbine on Sept. 13, finishing a close-up fifth as the odds-on choice. The son of Seattle Slew had his final Classic prep in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, finishing third with a rough trip.

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