Timeline did everything asked of him at Monmouth Park on Sunday and is Haskell-bound after winning the Grade 3 Pegasus by 3 1/2 lengths.
But sometimes things are not as simple as they seem, and on Sunday night trainer Chad Brown said Timeline had been stepped on during the race and had a cut on his right hind leg.
The injury appears superficial, according to Brown, who added that Timeline sprung a shoe and "showed his toughness today. He is a very tough horse."
Brown said if Timeline comes out of the race okay and trains to his satisfaction, he will proceed to the Grade 1 Haskell, a $1 million race for 3-year-olds that is a Win and You're In for the Breeders' Cup Classic.
Brown also is considering Practical Joke, the Grade 1 Champagne winner last year and Blue Grass runner-up in April, for the Haskell. Practical Joke is scheduled to start in the $400,000 Dwyer, a one-mile race for 3-year-olds at Belmont Park on July 8. He is leaning to the Jim Dandy at Saratoga rather than the Haskell for Preakness winner Cloud Computing.
"In a perfect world, that is where they will go," he said.
Timeline is 4 for 4 since beginning his career in early March. Brown sent Timeline to the Pegasus to give him a race over the Monmouth strip and a start around two turns. He handled both very well.
"I was impressed with his win, but he overcame some adversity to do it," Brown said.
Sent off as the 1-10 favorite over four rivals, Timeline paid $2.20 to win. His victory resulted in a minus show pool as $631,392 of the $670,825 was wagered on him.
Jockey Javier Castellano, who gave up a day of riding in New York to put Timeline through his paces, sent the son of Hard Spun to the front from post 2, and Timeline clicked off fractions of 23.70, 47.07, and 1:10.64.
Talk Logistics attempted to challenge entering the stretch, but could not keep pace when it mattered. Castellano never used his whip on Timeline, who galloped out well after crossing the finish.
Timeline completed 1 1/16 miles over a fast track that has been leaning to speed in 1:41.32. He covered his final sixteenth in 6.19 after being timed in 1:35.13.
"He was very straightforward today," Castellano said. "I asked him a little, to put him on the pace, and he didn't rush. He just galloped along on the lead. When I asked him turning for home, he responded so well. He has developed into a very nice horse."
The Pegasus was Timeline's first start since he came from just off the pace to win the Grade 3 Peter Pan, a one-turn, 1 1/8-miles race at Belmont Park, by 3 1/2 lengths over a sloppy and sealed track May 13. In his debut, he closed late to win a seven-furlong maiden race at Gulfstream Park by a half-length. He followed that race with a 13 1/2-length romp going a mile over a sloppy track in early April.
The Haskell will be a major class jump for Timeline, as Classic Empire, Irish War Cry, and one of Todd Pletcher's Classic-winning 3-year-olds, Always Dreaming or Tapwrit, are also being considered for the race. But Timeline's stock is certainly on the rise, and with division leadership up for grabs, he will get a chance to prove he belongs.
Timeline races for Waldorf Racing LLC partnership managed by Bill Farish and Ben Haggin. He was purchased for $500,000 at the 2015 Keeeneland September sale.
Talk Logistics raced well in the Pegasus for trainer Eddie Plesa Jr., but was facing a difficult task. He settled into last place in the run to the first turn, advanced to a contending position along the inside on the backstretch, then was sent after Timeline from the outside nearing the stretch.
He finished 13 1/4 lengths clear of third-place Honor the Fleet, who raced closest to Timeline early but had little left for the final quarter-mile.
The order of finish was completed by Glory Stars and Greek Prince.