Trainer Nick Zito, who didn't take long to get his powerful stable in action since arriving from New York and Kentucky for the winter, sends out Robert LaPenta's promising 2-year-old Seek Gold in the $100,000 What A Pleasure Stakes Saturday at Calder.
With jockey Rene Douglas riding, Seek Gold is among the leading contenders in the seven-horse What A Pleasure at 1 1/16 miles. Seek Gold is a son of the outstanding freshman sire Touch Gold who woke up when trying two turns for the first time.
After a dull effort sprinting in his debut at Belmont in early September, Seek Gold finished second in a one-turn mile there and broke his maiden in late October at Aqueduct in his next start. He goes into the What A Pleasure with the benefit of a winning allowance prep over the track and distance on Nov. 23.
Another fresh arrival for the winter in the race is Raymond Cottrell Sr.'s White Cat with jockey Roger I. Velez aboard for trainer Ken McPeek. The son of Mountain Cat finished sixth last out behind highly-regarded Soto in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 30. He made a bold bid to be head-and-head for the lead at the furlong marker and was beaten 3 1/4 lengths for it all.
The most accomplished colts in the race are E. Paul Robsham's Trust N Luck, trained by Ralph Ziadie, and Stride Rite Racing Stable's Super Frolic, trained by Milt Wolfson, both developed here over the summer.
Jockey Cornelio Velasquez rides Trust N Luck, who won the track's biggest 2-year-old prize when capturing the $400,000 In Reality division of the Florida Stallion Stakes on Oct. 12. The $200,000 OBS March 2-year-old purchase by Montbrook finished a disappointing fourth last out as the 3-to-2 favorite in the seven-furlong Jack Price Juvenile on Nov. 16.
Super Frolic, a Kentucky homebred by Pine Bluff out of Graded stakes-winner Lindsay Frolic, won his first three starts at Calder, including the Foolish Pleasure by more than four lengths over Trust N Luck on Sept. 21. Jockey Eibar Coa gets the call.
Not eligible for the Stallion Stakes series, trainer Milt Wolfson shipped Super Frolic to Kentucky for the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. II) at Keeneland and he finished a dull fifth behind Sky Mesa with a rough trip. He finished sixth last out in Calder's Mecke Stakes on Nov. 30 in his turf debut, but was only two lengths behind the winner.
Completing the field are Nelson Bunker Hunt's Fort Smith, Jose Velez, Jr.; Kinsman Stable's Patriotic Flame, Rosemary Homeister, Jr.; and A. Kales Company's R. Associate, Manuel Aguilar. $100,000 What A Pleasure Stakes (Race 11), 2-year-olds, 1 1/16 mile
PP Horse, Weight, Jockey
1 Super Frolic (KY), 120, Eibar Coa
2 Seek Gold (KY), 117, Rene R. Douglas
3 Fort Smith (FL), 111, Jose A. Velez, Jr.
4 White Cat (KY), 117, Roger I. Velez
5 Trust N Luck (FL), 120, Cornelio H. Velasquez
6 Patriotic Flame (FL), 115, Rosemary B. Homeister, Jr.
7 R. Associate (KY), 115, Manuel Aguilar