Zito Shipping Big Guns to Keeneland

Trainer Nick Zito is beginning his assault on the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) by shipping three of his top contenders to Keeneland. The plane carrying Eurosilver, Birdstone, and The Cliff's Edge was expected to land in Central Kentucky today.

Eurosilver, impressive winner of the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. II) during the Keeneland fall meeting, is pointed to the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I). The son of Unbridled's Song opened his sophomore campaign with a five-length win in a Feb. 4 allowance contest at Gulfstream Park before finishing second in the March 13 Swale Stakes (gr. III).

Birdstone, half-brother to 2003 Kentucky Oaks victress Birdtown, won the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park at the end of his 2-year-old season. The son of Grindstone began the year with a three-length allowance win going a mile and 70 yards at Gulfstream Park.

Birdstone is the even-money favorite in Saturday's Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park.

The Cliff's Edge, named for turf writer and trackman Cliff Guilliams, exited his juvenile season with a hard-fought victory in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs. Unlucky loser in the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, his initial start of the year, The Cliff's Edge was a fast-closing third in the Florida Derby (gr. I) in his last trip to the post. Zito is considering the $325,000, Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) on April 17 as the final Kentucky Derby prep for the son of Thunder Gulch.

"Once you know the horse is going to the Derby, the important thing is to maintain their fitness," Zito said in a release from Keeneland. "It doesn't really matter where their last race is as long as they are happy and healthy."