Jerry Bailey took Zakocity wire-to-wire Saturday to win the William D. Schaefer Handicap (gr. III) at Pimlico, the race prior to the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
It was the second straight front-running win at Pimlico following Pinpoint's victory in the Sir Barton Stakes.
Bailey said it was an easy race to figure.
"He's a speed kind of horse and there wasn't much speed in there other than me," he noted.
Bailey took the 4-year-old Precocity
colt to the lead immediately in the nine furlong race, and he had plenty left for the stretch run when challenged briefly at the head of the lane by Clays Awesome, who was second the entire way. Zakocity won by 2 1/2 lengths.
Zakocity had not run since April 2, when he ran third in the Skip Away Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park. In his other two starts this year, he ran third in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II) and finished second in the Sunshine Millions Classic.
He was beaten just a neck in the Sunshine Millions Classic, and the winner of the Gulfstream Park Handicap was Eddington, who won the Pimlico Special (gr. I) Friday. Zakocity's last win came in Aqueduct's Discovery Handicap (gr. III), which he won in front-running style by 3 1/2 lengths last fall. He improved to 5-5-7 in 27 lifetime starts with earnings of $645,970.
Zakocity, bred in Florida by John Franks, is out of the Vilzak mare Zakcat. He is owned by Paul Pompa Jr. and trained by Patrick Reynolds.
"I told Jerry to go to the lead," Reynolds said. "He rode a great race. It means a lot when Jerry rides for a guy like me. I don't have a lot of stakes horses."
The fractions were :24.07, :47.37, 1:10.93, 1:36.09 and Zakocity finished in 1:49.19. The second choice in the field of eight, he paid $6.80, $4.40, and $2.80.
Clays Awesome, who was ridden by Edgar Prado, returned $9.60 and $6.80.
"We were in perfect position, but just couldn't catch the winner," Prado said.
Royal Assault, another 2 3/4 lengths back with Rafael Bejarano aboard, finished third and paid $3.80.
Ouagadougou finished fourth, with Go Now, Contante, Seven Talents and 2-1 favorite Alumni Hall following.
Alumni Hall was three wide on the first turn for Robby Albarado and wide again on the final turn, giving way as the field reached the stretch.
"I had no horse," Albarado said. "I don't know why. I'm really sorry that he didn't show up today."