Trainer Nick Zito, who may start three horses in the Preakness Stakes.

Trainer Nick Zito, who may start three horses in the Preakness Stakes.

Associated Press/Garry Jones

Zito May Start Three in Preakness; Two Work at Churchill

Edited from Maryland Jockey Club reports
Although High Fly will have to wait until Tuesday morning to earn his way into the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) field during a scheduled half-mile workout at Churchill Downs, stablemates Noble Causeway and Sun King punched their tickets to Pimlico Race Course after pleasing trainer Nick Zito with their respective five-furlong workouts Monday morning.

"I'm very happy with both of them, so they're a go," said Zito from Churchill Downs.

Noble Causeway (14th in the Kentucky Derby, gr., I) was clocked in 1:02.20 under exercise rider Maxine Correa.

"I told Maxine to come home quick and he went very nice. He went the last eighth in 11 (seconds) and change. He galloped out good. It was just right," Zito said.

Sun King (15th in the Kentucky Derby) was clocked in 1:01.20 with Correa aboard.

"I worked Sun King in company with another horse (Indy Storm), because sometimes psychologically it makes a difference. He went in 1:01 and change and he came home in 11 and change, also," Zito reported.

Gary Stevens will retain the mount on Noble Causeway, while Rafael Bejarano will pick up the riding assignment on Sun King. Jerry Bailey will ride High Fly, should the 10th-place Derby finisher turn in a solid workout Tuesday morning.

Although disappointed with the off-the-board finishes of his five Derby starters, Zito knows that a horse can rebound with a winning performance in the Preakness. Louis Quatorze gave Zito his first Preakness winner in 1996 after finishing 16th in the Kentucky Derby.

"It can happen," Zito said. "The Derby is the Derby. I saluted the winner. He brought his race. Now, it's another race."

Zito's Preakness contenders are scheduled to arrive at Pimlico on Wednesday afternoon.

Should Zito enter three in the Preakness, Rick Dutrow-trained Golden Man would fall to 15th on the eligibility list and would not run in the Preakness, which is limited to 14 horses.

Even if Golden Man made his way into the race through a last-minute defection, Dutrow would have to choose another rider since Bejarano has a prior commitment on Sun King.