Kid Cruz, a four-length winner of the March 8 Private Terms Stakes at Laurel Park, takes a step toward a possible Preakness (gr. I) start as the 120-pound highweight in the $100,000 Federico Tesio Stakes April 19 at Pimlico Race Course.
The Kentucky-bred son of Lemon Drop Kid faces eight sophomore rivals in the 1 1/16-mile Tesio, which also attracted stakes winners Oliver Zip and Joint Custody, as well as unbeaten Ground Control. The last of four stakes worth $100,000 apiece on Saturday's Pimlico card, the Tesio is race 10 with a scheduled post time of 5:24 p.m. EDT.
Trained by Linda Rice for owners Vina Del Mar Thoroughbreds and Black Swan Stable, Kid Cruz was scheduled to run in the Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I) at Aqueduct Racetrack April 5 but was withdrawn a day before the race because of a sore shoulder. He was under consideration for the April 19 Illinois Derby (gr. III) but landed in this spot instead.
Kid Cruz closed from last of 10 on the final turn with a six-wide move to win the Private Terms going away. The bay colt posted a slow time of 1:54.82 for the 1 1/8-mile distance. That was the stakes debut for Kid Cruz, who broke his maiden by six lengths at the $50,000 claiming level in January on the inner track at Aqueduct.
He drew post 7 for his Pimlico debut with Julian Pimentel named to ride.
Joint Custody, a Maryland-bred gelding trained by John Robb for Konrad Wayson, ran second in the Private Terms after opening a 2 1/2-length lead in the stretch and fading. The gray or roan son of Outflanker was also second in Laurel's Miracle Wood. He won the Marylander Stakes over open company as well as the Maryland Juvenile Championships for state-breds last December. Wesley Ho retains the mount from post 4.
Also coming out of the Private Terms are the Bill Mott-trained Matuszak (third), Elevated (eighth), and Mr. Rover (ninth).
George and Lori Hall's Oliver Zip tries two turns for the first time after a runner-up finish by a nose to Coup de Grace in Aqueduct's Bay Shore Stakes (gr. III) at seven furlongs April 5. Trained by Kelly Breen, the City Zip colt romped by 4 1/2 lengths in the six-furlong Fred Cappy Capossela Stakes a month before the Private Terms.
Fog City Stable's Ground Control is on the way up for trainer Tony Dutrow after winning an allowance/optional claiming race going one mile at Laurel March 20. In his only other start, the Awesome Again colt drilled a maiden allowance field by nearly nine lengths on a muddy Aqueuduct inner track a month earlier. Alex Cintron takes the return call from gate 8.
Also on the improve is D. J. Stable's Undertaker, making his stakes debut for trainer John Servis. The son of Unbridled's Song comes off a neck defeat when second as an even-money favorite in a one-mile allowance heat March 2 at Parx Racing. Prior to that, he defeated Kid Cruz and Matuszak in a first-level allowance with a front-running effort at Aqueduct Jan. 26.
Completing the field is Robert LaPenta's maiden Sassicaia, a son of Bernardini who finished second and third in a pair of maiden tries at Gulfstream Park. The bay colt, trained by Chad Brown, drew the rail with Abel Castellano Jr. riding.
$100,000 Federico Tesio (Race 10, 5:24 p.m.), 3YOs, 1 1/16 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Sassicaia (KY), A Castellano, Jr., 116, C C Brown
2. Oliver Zip (KY), J Pimentel, 116, K J Breen
3. Matuszak (KY), H Karamanos, 116, W I Mott
4. Joint Custody (MD), W Ho, 116, J J Robb
5. Undertaker (KY), K Carmouche, 116, J C Servis
6. Elevated (PA), S Russell, 116, P Schoenthal
7. Kid Cruz (KY), J Pimentel, 120, L Rice
8. Ground Control (KY), A Cintron, 116, A W Dutrow
9. Mr. Rover (KY), V R Carrasco, 116, K T Leatherbury