Trainer Nick Zito holds a strong hand in Saturday's $100,000 Fred W. Hooper Handicap (gr. III) at Calder Race Course when he sends out the Robert LaPenta-owned entry of 3-year-old Andromeda's Hero and the 5-year-old Seek Gold.
Zito won last year's Hooper when he saddled LaPenta's 3-year-old Pies Prospect for victory in the 1 1/8-mile event.
Andromeda's Hero, to be ridden by Rafael Bejarano, crossed the national radar screen this spring when finishing eighth in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and then second to Afleet Alex in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). The son of Fusaichi Pegasus
comes into this race after a good fourth-place effort when facing older horses in the Clark Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs Nov. 25.
Calder-based trainer Manny Tortora also has a pair to run with the uncoupled entry of Lewis Family Partnerships' Whos Crying Now (Manoel Cruz) and Rodney Lundock's Supervisor (Abdiel Toribio, Jr). The two 5-year-old geldings finished one-two, respectively, last out in the $200,00 Carl Rose Classic at Calder Nov. 12, Florida Million day.$100,000 Fred W. Hooper Handicap (gr. III, Race 10, 4:17 p.m.), 3 & up, 1 1/8 miles
1. Whos Crying Now (FL), 117, Manoel Cruz
2. Dazzling Dr. Cevin (FL), 114, Eddie Castro
3. Itsawonderfulife (KY), 113, Rajiv Maragh
4. Niigon (ON), 113, Cornelio Velasquez
5. Grand Canyon (CHI), 114, Jose Rivera II
6. Military Major (KY), 114, Jose Ferrer
7. Seek Gold (KY), 113, Edgar Prado
8. Andromeda's Hero (KY), 114, Rafael Bejarano
9. Supervisor (FL), 117, Aurelio Toribio, Jr.
10. Sir Jackie (FL), 113, Eduardo Nunez
11. Mister Fotis (FL), 112, Jorge Chavez