THE BIG ZONK Last summer, Servis told all who would listen he had a very talented juvenile filly in his barn by the name of Zonk. Owned by Delaware native Richard Porter's Fox Hill Farms, Zonk placed in two stakes and then last September shipped from her Philadelphia Park base to Turfway Park, where she finished third in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies. Unfortunately for Servis, Zonk emerged from the Turfway race with a fractured hind pastern, erasing Servis' plan of running her in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). When Zonk, a daughter of Farma Way out of the Riverman mare In Concert, returned from a seven-month layup, however, she won an allowance race at Delaware on May 6, then followed up with a score in the Revidere Stakes at Monmouth Park on May 27. She was then unplaced in the Mother Goose (gr. I) at Belmont Park on June 30. "I kind of threw her to the wolves," said Servis, a native of Charles Town, W. Va. "I didn't feel she was quite ready for it, but there was no place else to run her. I took a shot and thank God it didn't mess her up." That poor showing in the Mother Goose led to a fat pari-mutuel price of 29-1 in the 50th renewal of the $261,000 Delaware Oaks, but Zonk ran as if she were odds-on. She even defeated the filly who won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, Carl Pollard's champion Caressing. Under Mike McCarthy, Zonk sat in perfect striking position behind the leaders in the 11-horse field, then was set down through an opening near the rail in deep stretch. She took the lead and drew off to win by a length, timed in 1:45.27 for the 1 1/16 miles. Lee Lewis' Mystic Lady, winner of the Jersey Derby (gr. III), was second under Jerry Bailey, while 83-1 Lady Andromeda, owned by SJB Jr. Stable, was third. Caressing, the post-time favorite, never threatened and finished seventh. Zonk increased her earnings to $266,200 with the $151,000 winner's share of the Delaware Oaks purse, and she has won half of her eight lifetime starts. She was purchased by Fox Hill for $85,000 from the consignment of Beth Bayer, agent, at the 1999 Keeneland September yearling sale. "She showed me today that she's the kind of horse I thought she was," said Servis. For Porter, Zonk's Oaks win ranks in the "top five" stakes he's won since employing Servis several years ago. "It's great to win such an important and prestigious race at the track I grew up at," he said.
NAVESINK'S ARRIVAL Jayeff B Stables' Navesink served notice in the Hill Prince (gr. IIIT) at Belmont Park on June 16 that he was a sophomore with a very bright future on the turf. Having won his first three lifetime starts on the grass with ease, the son of Irish River jumped up and ran a huge race in the Hill Prince, yielding late while trapped down on the inside. Thus, it came as no surprise to trainer Alan Goldberg that Navesink was ready for a big effort in the Kent Breeders' Cup Stakes on July 22. But instead of sending him to the lead, as he did in the Hill Prince, Dominguez eased him back off the early pace and then made a powerful sweep to the lead turning for home in the 1 1/8-mile test. He came home two lengths in front of the Michael Dickinson-trained Bowman Mill. Harrisand, trained by Bobby Frankel, was third. Navesink was timed in 1:49.98 over firm going. "It was a great race, like we thought he would run," said Goldberg. "He's just stepping up and getting better and better. He's one of the few you get that likes to race, ships well, and has a lot of talent."