Checking Up On Florida's 3-year-olds

Edited from a release

Undefeated Frisky Spider will start next in either the Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) or the Fountain of Youth (gr. II) on Feb. 14 according to trainer Bob Durso, who will wait a few days on the heels of the 3-year-old's hardest test--a three-quarter-length allowance victory last Sunday.

Part of Durso's enviable dilemma is whether to have the son of Frisk Me Now follow in his sire's footsteps and go in the seven-furlong Hutcheson (although likely at far shorter odds than Frisk Me Now's $213 payoff in 1997), or try two turns in the Fountain of Youth. The latter would provide a better stepping stone to the Florida Derby.

Regardless, Durso has reason to be confident about his 3-for-3 colt.

"We worked him out past the wire at the end of his race on Saturday," said Durso. "He dug in to win the race, then when he came up on the turn another horse came up along side of him just galloping out and he dug in again. The outrider had to help pick him up."

Zito Troika Nearing Races

Trainer Nick Zito's trio of 3-year-old stars, Birdstone, Eurosilver and The Cliff's Edge, all remain on target for races following workouts over the weekend at Palm Meadows Training Center.

Birdstone, who won the Champagne Stakes last October, worked five furlongs in 1:02 Saturday as did Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. II) winner Eurosilver. The Cliff's Edge breezed the same distance in 1:01 2/5.

Zito continues to remain noncommittal about their initial starts this year, but is aware the clock is ticking.

"Everybody is fine and they all look good," said Zito. "Now that we're approaching February hopefully we'll find a way to get them all started."

In addition to the Hutcheson and Fountain of Youth, Zito is looking for allowance races as potential 2004 bows.