Trainer Nick Zito, who saddled two horses in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), could have two or even three in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I). Zito said owner Tracy Farmer and racing manager Lincoln Collins are seriously considering the second leg of the Triple Crown for Sir Shackleton and/or Royal Assault.
Zito definitely will be represented by The Cliff's Edge, who finished fifth in the Derby after throwing both front shoes in the race. Zito's other starter, Birdstone, lost one shoe.
Although both Sir Shackleton and Royal Assault are considered possible starters at this time, it would seem as if Sir Shackleton, winner of the Derby Trial Stakes (gr. III), would be the logical one to run, with Royal Assault possibly using the Sir Barton Stakes on Preakness Day as a prep for the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Sir Shackleton, a son of Miswaki
, has won three of his four career starts, finishing second in his career debut at Gulfstream in February. In the Derby Trial, he ran a gutsy race, defeating Courageous Act by 1 3/4 lengths.
Zito has been looking forward to stretching Royal Assault out since he broke his maiden in his career debut at Gulfstream in January. After finishing second to Suave going nine furlongs in his first two-turn race, the son of Kris S. was a solid fifth in the Wood Memorial (gr. I) at 42-1 after stumbling at the start.
Zito felt The Cliff's Edge, winner of the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), had a good shot to finish second had he not lost his shoes on the sloppy track, but paid credit to the winner, Smarty Jones, and said it just wasn't meant to be.