A bay colt by Unbridled's Song consigned by De Meric Sales, agent, attracted a final bid of $330,000 to top the first of two sessions at Fasig-Tipton's Midlantic 2-year-olds In training sale in Timonium, Md., on May 20.
Miner's Reserve will join stablemates Ice Box and Fly Down in the $1 million Shadwell Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Aug. 28, it was confirmed the day before the race.
A field of 11 was drawn for the Travers, with Jim Dandy winner A Little Warm pegged as the 7-2 morning-line favorite. Trappe Shot, First Dude, Super Saver, Afleet Again, and Ice Box are also returning from the Haskell.
A Little Warm outlasted 15-1 longshot Miner's Reserve to score his first graded stakes win under John Velazquez in the Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) July 31 at Saratoga.
Richard Pell's Fly Down, who turned in a huge effort in the Belmont Stakes last out in his grade I debut, returns as the horse to beat in the $500,000 Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) July 31 at Saratoga.
Our Edge, a fast-developing 3-year-old colt trained by Nick Zito for Robert LaPenta, made easy work of 10 rivals in the $152,100 Barbaro Stakes (gr. III) at Delaware Park July 19.
Coal Play, ridden on the front end by Joe Bravo, ran his seven rivals off their feet in the $250,000 Salvator Mile (gr. III) at Monmouth Park July 4, gaining an early berth to the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile.
When considering company that you'd be honored to be associated with, Penny Chenery would make a fine start. Owner Robert LaPenta has two chances to join Chenery and her Meadow Stable as the most recent back-to-back winners of the Triple Crown's third jewel.
Trainer Nick Zito said the defection of Win Willy led him to decide to enter My Meadowview Farm's Nowhere to Hide in the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Stone Farm's Wanderin Boy tops the 20th running of the grade I, $300,000 Hill 'n' Dale Cigar Mile at Aqueduct Nov. 29 as Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito attempts a rare double: winning graded stakes with 7-year-olds on consecutive days.
Da' Tara, who exploited a field lacking speed to the fullest in winning the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), could be in a position to do it again in the $150,000 Jerome Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park Oct. 5.
Commentator took command of the $500,000 Massachusetts Handicap with three furlongs to run and won by a record 14 lengths at odds of 1-10 at Suffolk Downs Sept. 20.
War Pass, last year's unbeaten champion 2-year-old male and multiple grade I winner who was injured in April of this year, has been retired to stud to William S. Farish's Lane's End Farm near Versailles, Ky.
Anak Nakal, rallying from far back for jockey Joe Bravo, got up in the final strides to defeat Acai in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) at Philadelphia Park Sept. 1.
According to New York Racing Association Stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes, Acai, Colonel John, Da' Tara, Harlem Rocker, Macho Again, Mambo in Seattle, Pyro, Tale of Ekati, and Tres Borrachos are probable for the Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga.
Three years after last winning the Whitney Handicap (gr. I), 7-year-old Commentator returned to the Saratoga winner's circle when he galloped to a surprisingly easy front-running victory in the $750,000 Spa fixture.
Nick Zito, New York's favorite son, shuts the door on another Triple Crown bid, this time beating Big Brown with Da' Tara.
Big Brown's downfall in the Belmont came in his training regimen.
The eight other runners from the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) were resting well, their trainers looking on to future goals for the summer, as the Triple Crown season concluded June 7.
Slightly more than 12 hours after saddling Da' Tara to an upset victory in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), trainer Nick Zito was back at his barn at Belmont Park the morning of June 8 to oversee his stable.
The Nick Zito-trained Anak Nakal was a go for the Belmont Stakes (gr.I) shortly after he ran seventh in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr.I) at Churchill Downs on May 3.
James Barry purchased his 4-year-old Divine Park for just $20,000 at Keeneland's September yearling sale in 2005. Less than three years later, the son of Chester House became a grade I winner when he ran down the talented Commentator in the $600,000 Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
In January, Tracy Farmer's Commentator blistered to a new track record at Gulfstream Park as he trounced an outclassed field of five allowance competitors by 14 lengths. In March, he demolished six Richter Scale Sprint Handicap (gr. II) contenders while drawing off to win by 13 3/4 lengths. But the 7-year-old Distorted Humor gelding faces his steepest test of the season this Memorial Day, when he heads a field of nine in the $600,000 Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
That Roman Emperor likes the 1 1/16-mile distance has already been proven. Whether he'll bounce back from a seventh-place finish in the 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial (gr. I) remains to be seen. We'll find out when the Steve Klesaris trainee leads a field of seven 3-year-olds in the $100,000 Barbaro Stakes at Pimlico Race Course.
Stevil has not won a race since his maiden score at Belmont in October of 2007, but trainer Nick Zito has the grey son of Maria's Mon on track for a start in the May 17 Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
Bear Stables' Kentucky Bear was the first Preakness Stakes (gr. I) contender to arrive at Pimlico, while others are scheduled to ship in next week.
Stevil, Racecar Rhapsody, and Recapturetheglory all galloped at Churchill Downs May 7 in preparation for the May 17 Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
Trainer Nick Zito is holding court with a ring of media members outside his barn. The two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer has two starters for Saturday's running: Cool Coal Man and Anak Naktal. Zito is talking about the subject of the year: synthetic surfaces. We have a feeling he's not a big fan.
Pyro may be on fire going into the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland April 12, but 11 other runners will attempt to douse his Derby dreams in the 1 1/8-mile event.
Bea Oxenberg's Hey Byrn returns just two weeks after a well-beaten fourth-place finish in the $1-million Florida Derby (gr. I). He's the choice in the $150,000 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) April 12 at Gulfstream Park.
Charles Fipke's homebred Tale of Ekati may have turned in a sub-par effort in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II), but he sparkled at Aqueduct when he ran down War Pass in the final strides of the $750,000 Wood Memorial (gr. I) April 5.
Nick Zito has not lost faith in War Pass. True, the colt has questions to answer after finishing last as the 1-20 choice in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III). But the trainer saw his 2007 juvenile champ at his best during a five-race winning streak that carried over into this season, and he's hoping that side is revealed again when the son of Cherokee Run heads a field of 10 in Aqueduct's $750,000 Wood Memorial (gr. I).
Robert LaPenta's Cool Coal Man, a major contender for the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), prepped for a planned run in the April 12 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland with a sharp half-mile work at Churchill Downs April 3.
Judging from his half-mile breeze in a bullet :47 2/5 Thursday, perhaps the reports of War Pass' demise have been greatly exaggerated. The 2-year-old champ's work was the fastest of 11 at the distance.
Trainer Barclay Tagg had prophetic words of wisdom for jockey Eibar Coa before he sent Eric Fein's Big Truck to the $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III). He told Coa to ride for second, remarking that they'd win if 1-9 favorite War Pass did not. And that's exactly what happened.
Handicappers who take on the $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) will probably find their challenge not in choosing a winner, but in selecting the order of finish behind Robert LaPenta's prohibitive favorite War Pass.
Trained by Michael Matz, Visionaire looks to improve upon his third-place finish in the Feb. 9 Risen Star Stakes (gr. III). He will have to beat nine others March 8 at Aqueduct, including undefeated Giant Moon.
Seven rivals will look to knock off Lazy F Ranch's red-hot Chatain March 8 in the $200,000 Richter Scale Sprint Handicap (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park.
There's just no escaping it. You can question his pedigree and his running style all you want, but War Pass is simply in a class by himself right now, and until someone figures out how to beat him or his pedigree catches up to him, he has to be the top dog.
Three-year-olds around the country continue to get "zapped" by the Derby trail's three-headed monster. You know, zap, as in Nick Zito, Steve Asmussen, and Todd Pletcher.
Four runners trained by Nick Zito, all potential contenders for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), lead the list of 52 3-year-olds nominated for the $350,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park Feb. 24.
Robert LaPenta's undefeated Eclipse champion War Pass continued to prep for his seasonal debut when he worked a bullet half-mile in :46.80 at Palm Meadows training center Feb. 2. Anak Nakal and Tale of Ekati also worked.
Trainer Nick Zito has a barn loaded with potential Kentucky Derby contenders, and four of those 3-year-olds made impressive moves this weekend.
For trainer Nick Zito, this week has truly been the best of times and the worst of times, at least where older horses are concerned. One day after 5-year-old Hesanoldsalt had to be euthanized following a freak accident at Palm Meadows, 7-year-old Commentator set a track record at Gulfstream Park - and blew away his competition with a 14-length victory Jan. 17.
Live Oak Plantation's Hesanoldsalt, a 5-year-old son of Broad Brush, was euthanized Jan. 16 following a freak accident at Palm Meadows, according to trainer Nick Zito.
- By Claire Novak
He spurns in-depth interviews, seeking the privacy of the jockeys' room with hermit-like tenacity. You'll rarely find him socializing with his fellow riders, and his post-race celebrations are generally undetectable. But Cornelio Velasquez doesn't have to say much. His ability speaks for itself. Trainers call Velasquez "a warrior" and "an agressive rider" who is solid, determined and "consistently gives his all." These qualities are probably the reason he is the nation's fourth-leading rider by purses earned this year. And we're about to let you in on another secret. Velasquez will not volunteer this information, but 2007 has been his best year ever. (Read More)
Undefeated War Pass, winner of the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and the favorite for divisional championship honors, will stand at William S. Farish's Lane's End Farm near Versailles, Ky., upon his retirement from racing.
Sun King, a millionaire and multiple grade II winner, has been retired from racing and will enter stud at Darby Dan Farm near Lexington.
- By Ron Mitchell
Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner War Pass was bred in Kentucky by Cherry Valley Farm and possesses the solid bloodlines of Cherry Valley owner Seth Hancock.
Nick Zito trainee War Pass, winner of the Oct. 6 Champagne Stakes (gr. I), has been installed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the $2- million Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Monmouth Park Oct. 27.
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