Meadowlands Notebook: Zito's Graded Prospects Improve

by Gary Granade
(Editor's Note: Content for this handicapping notebook is provided by Brisnet)

PIES PROSPECT (Crafty Prospector) became Nick Zito's latest three-year-old to win a graded stakes as he outdueled EDDINGTON (Unbridled) to capture the $300,000 Pegasus S. (G3) on Friday, opening night of the Big M meeting that runs through November 13.

Zito also trains Birdstone (Grindstone), Sir Shackleton (Miswaki) and the recently retired The Cliff's Edge (Gulch).

Pies Prospect was never far off the pace in the 1 1/8-mile race. Eddington, the even-money favorite who has contested most of the major three-year-old stakes this year, surged into contention with a dramatic four-wide move on the final turn and looked poised to score his first win since February.

Richard Migliore put Eddington into an all-out drive, but they could not put away Pies Prospect. Eddington and Pies Prospect bumped at the top of the lane and hooked up in a head-to-head battle through the final furlong, with Pies Prospect digging in for the victory by a hard-fought neck.

It was a very disappointing effort by Eddington, who appeared to hang badly through the lane. Migliore accepted much of the blame for his defeat.

"I decided to take him wide and let him go on the second turn," Migliore said. "I'm kind of second guessing myself for making the move too soon. I thought tonight might be the night he put it all together. He tried, but it was just unfortunate the way it worked out."

Pies Prospect was timed in 1:48.57 and gave back $11.80 to win as the second choice. ZAKOCITY (Precocity) was another 3 1/2 lengths back of Eddington in third.

In the night's other stakes action, DELTA PRINCESS (A P Indy), who had been facing much stronger competition in graded stakes events, shot through on the inside to win the $60,000 Navajo Princess S. by three parts of a length.

The impeccably bred Delta Princess is out of Group 2-winning Lyphard mare Lyphard's Delta and is thus a full sister to Grade 1 winner Indy Five Hundred. She has now earned $378,524.

Ridden by Heberto Castillo Jr., Delta Princess covered the mile and a sixteenth over a "good" turf course in 1:44.63 and returned $6.60 and the lukewarm 2-1 favorite. SOMETHING VENTURED (Cobra King) completed the $17.40 exacta, with CONEY KITTY (Lycius) another length behind her.

ELUSIVE THUNDER (Thunder Gulch) took command at the break and never looked back, winning the $55,000 World Appeal S. by a neck over the hard-charging entry of UNITED (Dixie Union) and DIXIE SLEW (Dixieland Band) who finished a nose apart.

United suffered a brutal trip, having nowhere to run for much of the race, and was clearly best. He would have been the winner in another two strides.

Trained by Derek Ryan and ridden by Stewart Elliott, Elusive Thunder covered the mile and 70 yards over good turf in 1:45.70 and paid $12.80 as the third choice. The entry was favored at 3-5 and completed the $28.60 exacta.

SLEWS FINAL ANSWER (Seattle Slew) got to the front in deep stretch before posting a 1 1/2-length victory over the hard-charging LAVENDER LASS (Skip Trial) in the $60,000 Ready Jet Go S. on Saturday night.

Part of a Bill Mott entry and ridden by Julian Pimentel, Slews Final Answer covered the six furlongs on the front end over a fast main track in 1:09.23 and was worth $6.60 as the close second choice. Lavender Lass completed a $58.20 exacta with UMPATEEDLE (Suave Prospect) another neck back.

Umpateedle cruised by early leader ELECTRICAL CARLITA (Jules), the 2-1 favorite, at the furlong pole, but had no answer when the winner came calling.

Slews Final Answer was one of the nation's best sprinters last year and has come back in fine form after being freshened by Mott.

In the $55,000 Salem County S., PADDY'S DAISY (King Of Kings) powered to the lead at the top of the lane and drew clear impressively to a 2 1/4-length score over K.D.'S SHADY LADY (Maria's Mon).

Coupled with ELKE (Dixie Union) as the Todd Pletcher trained entry and ridden by Chris DeCarlo, Paddy's Daisy returned $3.80 as the 4-5 choice. K.D.'s Shady Lady completed a chalky $6.20 exacta and Elke, the early pacesetter, finished another length back in third. There was no show wagering.

Inside speed had the edge on both nights with the turf course favoring pressers and closers.

Apprentice Rajiv Maragh is the leading rider with four wins from nine mounts, one ahead of Elliott. Elvis Trujillo, Ramon Dominguez and Harry Vega are tied for third with two wins each.

Mott, who was shut out at Monmouth, leads the conditioners with two wins from three starters.


Friday (10/1)

8TH - United was boxed in along the rail for much of the race and was coming on fast at the wire. Showed a definite preference for turf.

9TH - ORPINGTON (Cozzene) was confidently rated at the back of the pack, uncorked a burst of speed and won in hand. Can win at the next level.

11TH - SULTRY CAT (Tale of the Cat) was dropped to the basement from the $25,000 level by Steve Klesaris and won by daylight with a figure that would win several levels higher. There were no takers, so Klesaris will place him to repeat next out.

Saturday (10/2)

8TH - Slews Final Answer is back in top form and has plenty of class. Look for a repeat score in a non-graded sprint stakes.