Nick Zito ran five horses in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) -- including the favorite -- and no one has to remind him they finished seventh, eighth, 10th, 14th, and 15th. But the Preakness (gr. I) is a new day, Zito said Friday morning at Pimlico.
"I think people get too caught up in statistics and numbers," Zito said. "This is sports and these are athletes. Each race is a different situation."
For instance, no one expects the pace to be as fast in the Preakness as it was in the Derby. And, there are 14 horses compared to the 20 that ran two weeks ago.
Bellamy Road popped a split after the Derby and Zito is pointing Andromeda's Hero toward the June 11 Belmont Stakes (gr. I). But he will saddle Sun King, Noble Causeway, and High Fly in the Preakness.
"They're all grade I horses and belong in grade I races," Zito said on a chilly, rainy day in the Baltimore area. "But you have to keep enduring. Winning is often enduring and enduring often translates to winning.
"To muoch emphasis is put on statistics. It is still a sport; each race is still a race. They said before the Derby Bellamy Road can't get beat. People ignored Giacomo but he was a good 2-year-old and he ran second to Declan's Moon. He is the Derby winner."
Now, Zito hopes one of his runners will be known Saturday night as the winner of the Preakness Stakes.
On Friday morning, his trio just walked the shedrow because of the nasty weather. "They worked Monday so they've had a lot of training. I didn't want to take a chance this morning," Zito said.
Like everyone, Zito does not expect as fast a pace, but he does expect High Limit to be on the lead.
"There are other speed horses but with Bobby (Frankel) putting blinkers on him, he wants to steal the race."
Two of Zito's three horses, High Fly and Sun King, will be fairly close to the pace in the Preakness while Noble Causeway will settle in behind horses. "You don't want to take Noble Causeway out of his game," Zito said.
Jerry Bailey will return aboard High Fly and Gary Stevens will be up again on Noble Causeway. Rafael Bejarano will replace Edgar Prado on Sun King.
Bejarano, just 22 years old, was the leading rider in the country last year by wins with 455.
"What do I like about him? He wins," Zito said of the young Peruvian native. "He has a great feel and he's fearless in a good way. He's got a lot of talent for a young kid, and also, Mr. Farmer likes him," he said, referring to Sun King's owner, Tracy Farmer.