Zito Looks for Encore with Quatorze

by David Ginsburg

Having won the 1996 Preakness with Louis Quatorze, trainer Nick Zito is looking for another big payday with a daughter of the renowned horse. Aly Quatorze, who won twice at Gulfstream this winter, will take on favored Chamrousse in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) on Friday. The $200,000 race for 3-year-old fillies covers 1 1/8 miles.

Zito hopes that Aly Quatorze can conjure the same magic her father did six years ago, when he covered 1 3/16 miles in 1:53 2/5, matching the Preakness record.

"We think we have a pretty good chance," Zito said. "We still have to beat some nice fillies, but she likes the track. Her daddy did, too. Right now, knock wood, she's doing beautifully."

The entire field got a break earlier this week when trainer Ken McPeek decided not to enter Take Charge Lady, who would have been the favorite.

"We heard that Take Charge Lady might not go, so we took a chance and entered Aly Quatorze," Zito said. "Hopefully we'll be in the money."

The horse to beat is Chamrousse, the 7-5 morning line favorite, who was held out of the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) specifically to go in the Black-Eyed Susan. Trainer Niall O'Callaghan felt the race at Pimlico Race Course was a better spot for the daughter of Peaks and Valleys. Chamrousse won the first two starts of her career, and since has finished third in three straight stakes races.

Aly Quatorze, a 6-1 choice, has struggled lately. Since earning her only two career wins on Jan. 13 and Feb. 2, she's finished eighth, sixth, second, and fifth.

Charitabledonation, who has won two of three lifetime starts, opened at 5-2 as the second-favorite in the seven-horse field.

In Saturday's Preakness, Zito saddles two horses, including Crimson Hero whose half-brother ran well in a grade I race at Pimlico. Zito-trained Albert the Great (by Preakness runner-up Go for Gin and, like Crimson Hero, out of the Fappiano mare Bright Feather) finished second in the Pimlico Special. Zito's other Preakness starter, Straight Gin, is also by Zito-trained Kentucky Derby winner Go for Gin.