Commentator Sets Track Record
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/Blood-Horse Publications
For trainer Nick Zito, this week has truly been the best of times and the worst of times, at least where older horses are concerned. One day after 5-year-old Hesanoldsalt had to be euthanized following a freak accident at Palm Meadows, 7-year-old Commentator set a track record at Gulfstream Park – and blew away his competition with a 14-length victory Jan. 17.  

“It’s good news and bad news, and that’s how things go,” Zito said of his stable’s recent events. “What can you say?”

On the positive side, Tracy Farmer’s Commentator looked like a 2-year-old as he drew clear to win the $59,500 allowance feature under jockey John Velazquez, setting a track record of 1:33.71 for a mile on the fast track. The son of Distorted Humor   led gate-to-wire and proved he belonged back in black type company as he returned from a seventh-place finish behind Midnight Lute in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Monmouth Park Oct. 27.

Commentator was bred in New York by Michael Martinez out of the Storm Bird mare Outsource. Trained by Zito throughout his career, he scored his 10th victory in 16 starts. It was his most memorable win since the 2005 Whitney Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga, when he went wire-to-wire to upset eventual Horse of the Year Saint Liam by a neck.

Although the chestnut gelding’s race record has been sporadic due to various injuries, he always comes back strong.

“When he’s right, it’s always a beautiful thing to see,” Zito said. “It’s a compliment to the Farmers and their patience, to have a 7-year-old and do the right thing by him. You have to remember, he doesn’t have many miles on him racing-wise. He has age on him, but when he’s like this he can run with anybody.”

The Hall of Fame trainer was not sure when or where Commentator would make his next start.

“It would be wonderful to have some fun with him this year, so we’ll see what comes up,” he said. “He’s a New York-bred, but he does like Gulfstream. This track is like a Saratoga track and he likes that, but he can run on any track when he’s right like this. We want him to be around a while. One thing is for sure, he’ll get a great home when he retires.”

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