Nick Zito is licking his chops after last weekend's impressive victories by Sun King and Andromeda's Hero. Now, he tries to put the finishing touches on his four-horse feast when he saddles High Fly in the Fountain of Youth (gr. II) and Noble Causeway in an allowance race. All indications are that Zito will be flying high once again.
Trainer Nick Zito, always a threat along the Triple Crown trail, was sitting comfortably Sunday after two of his 3-year-olds posted wins Saturday and a third, High Fly, cruised through his workout and into the picture for the $300,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) on March 5.
The Nick Zito-trained Andromeda's Hero flew past 52-1 shot Summer Legacy in the final furlong and powered home to a convincing 2 ½-length victory in Saturday's $100,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile test for 3-year-olds at Tampa Bay Downs.
A group of 12 3-year-olds has passed the entry box in Saturday's $100,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, a prelude to that track's signature Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) March 19. Trainer Nick Zito sends out two of the top entries in Andromeda's Hero and G P's Black Knight.
The lightly raced Wanderin Boy passed his first stakes test with flying colors, leading every step of the way to take the $100,000 Mineshaft Handicap (gr. III) at Fair Grounds Race Course Saturday.
A field of six will contest the 47th running of the grade I Donn Handicap, traditionally the opening salvo of the handicap divisional season. This year's edition includes 2004 Eclipse Award finalist Roses in May and last year's Clark Handicap (gr. II) winner St. Liam--both of whom tussled with Horse of the Year Ghostzapper.
Trainer Nick Zito is preparing for a big weekend at Gulfstream Park, saddling runners in the Donn Handicap (gr. I), Davona Dale Stakes (gr. II), Old Hat Stakes (gr. III), and Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III), as well as celebrating his 57th birthday.
Robert V. LaPenta's Pies Prospect seized control before the eighth pole and pulled away for an easy victory in the $100,000 Fred W. Hooper Handicap (gr. III) at Calder Race Course Saturday.
Broadway View, ridden by John McKee, rallied from last on the far turn and then withstood the hard-charging America Alive by a bare nose in the first running of the $171,150 Commonwealth Turf for 3-year-olds at Churchill Downs.
Marylou Whitney's Birdstone, who was retired earlier the week of Nov. 1 after suffering a chip fracture in his left front ankle, will stand at Gainesway Farm near Lexington, Ky., Whitney's husband, John Hendrickson, said Nov. 5.
- By Steve Haskin
Marylou Whitney's Birdstone, winner of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and Travers Stakes (gr. I) this year, has been retired after a routine radiograph taken Nov. 2 revealed a P-1 medial chip in the colt's left front ankle.
Remembering Ferdinand was the rally call for the National Horse Protection Coalition during Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships weekend Oct. 29-30 at Lone Star Park. The group is attempting to draw attention to the end of horse slaughter for human consumption.
Marylou Whitney's Birdstone had his first gallop over the Lone Star Park track Sunday after arriving Saturday afternoon on a private charter from Albany, N.Y. that also brought three other Nick Zito-trained horses.
The Nick Zito-trained Commentator glided to an easy seven-length win in Thursday's $112,600 Perryville Stakes at Keeneland. Eurosilver was second, with Weigelia a half-length back in third.
Hopeful (gr. I) and Sanford Stakes (gr. II) winner Afleet Alex hopes to keep his record unblemished Saturday as he takes on seven of his fellow 2-year-old brethren in the 133rd running of the $500,000 Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
by Gary Granade - 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.
Robert LaPenta's The Cliff's Edge, who suffered a fracture of the right front ankle during the running of the Oct. 2 Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I), underwent successful surgery the morning of Oct. 4 at the New Jersey Equine Clinic.
Gary Stevens will take over riding duties on The Cliff's Edge in Saturday's $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) at Belmont Park, trainer Nick Zito said Sunday.
The last horse in the auction ring Sunday brought the top price of $320,000 during the sixth session of Keeneland's September yearling sale in Central Kentucky. Robert V. LaPenta's Whitehorse Stables purchased the Thunder Gulch colt, with a member of LaPenta's buying team, David Foye, signing the sale ticket.
The $750,000 Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) Sept. 6 is both a bettor's delight and nightmare, as 12 evenly matched 3-year-olds were entered in the 1 1/8-mile race, with almost every one of them having a legitimate shot to win.
The $750,000 Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) Sep. 6 may draw as many as 12 to 13 starters, in what promises to be a competitive race. Although the absence of Smarty Jones will be felt by the expected large holiday crowd, the 1 1/8-mile race is expected to draw some of the top 3-year-olds in the country.
Birdstone's 2 1/2-length win Saturday in the Travers (gr. I) at Saratoga, coupled with the colt's upset of Smarty Jones in the Belmont (gr. I), opens up the race for this year's 3-year-old championship, at least in the minds of some.
Marylou Whitney Stable's Belmont-winning Birdstone gave trainer Nick Zito his first victory in the Travers Stakes (gr. I) Saturday at Saratoga Race Course, just moments before an intense rainstorm hit the track.
Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone, owned by Marylou Whitney Stables, breezed six furlongs in 1:16 Sunday over the fast Oklahoma training track at Saratoga with regular exercise rider Maxine Correa up.
Two noses were all that separated the first three finishers in a desperate finish to Sunday's $100,000 Oceanport Handicap (gr. IIIT). Gulch Approval, ridden by Pat Day, eked out a victory over favored Kathir and Stormy Roman on the grass at Monmouth Park.
The $600,000 West Virginia Derby (gr. III) was the major mid-season test for Sir Shackleton, and he passed it with flying colors with a resounding victory over six other foes in the 1 1/8-mile event for 3-year-olds at Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort.
The second season begins in earnest for the 3-year-olds the weekend of Aug. 7-8, with the runnings of the Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I), Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II), and West Virginia Derby (gr. III). If there is even the slimmest chance of dethroning Smarty Jones for the title, someone is going to have to run the table.
Marylou Whitney's Birdstone, who denied Smarty Jones the Triple Crown with his victory in the June 5 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), will make his first start back in the $1-million Travers Stakes (gr. I), trainer Nick Zito said July 23.
Robert N. Clay's homebred Medallist, ridden by Jorge Chavez, romped and stomped at Belmont Park Sunday, winning the $150,000 Dwyer (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Belmont Park over The Cliff's Edge, flying to the lead and never looking back.
Robert LaPenta's The Cliff's Edge, winner of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland and fifth in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) despite a rough trip in his last start, is scheduled to begin his second season at Belmont Park July 11 in the $150,000 Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles.
Robert LaPenta's Pies Prospect became trainer Nick Zito's fifth 3-year-old colt to win a stakes this year, as he drew off to a 5 1/2-length victory in the $50,000 Floor Show Stakes at Delaware Park Tuesday.
Nick Zito has been busy recently trying to come up with a schedule for his talented arsenal of 3-year-olds. Even with the loss of Eurosilver, Zito is loaded as he sets his sights on a number of major stakes, beginning with the July 11 Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park.
This year's Belmont Stakes (gr. I) in the end was not about two jockeys ganging up on Smarty Jones. It wasn't about the ride by Stewart Elliott. It was all about class, as was the entire Triple Crown.
By Steve Haskin -- Birdstone wins the Belmont, denies Smarty Jones the Triple Crown.
Trainer Nick Zito says he has until Saturday to get a work into The Cliff's Edge, who suffered a foot bruise before the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), or he will be forced to miss the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). The son of Gulch's problems started when he lost both his front shoes during the running of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
Marylou Whitney's Champagne (gr. I) winner Birdstone breezed five furlongs in 1:02 3/5 over Saratoga's Oklahoma training track Saturday morning.
Robert LaPenta's The Cliff's Edge has been scratched from Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I). The official word came from trainer Nick Zito Friday morning on the backside at Pimlico Racecourse.
Imperialism, third in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), joined the list of probable starters in Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I), which is expected to feature four of the top five finishers from the May 1 Derby.
Mahmoud Fustok's Buckram Oak horses in trainer Nick Zito's care have been relocated to other conditioners. The horses left Zito's barn, stayed briefly at Fustok's Buckram Oak Farm near Lexington, and have since been distributed to other trainers. Neither racing manager Mohammed Moubarak nor farm manager Michael Albina would elaborate.
Trainer Nick Zito, who saddled two horses in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), could have two or even three in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I). Zito said owner Tracy Farmer and racing manager Lincoln Collins are seriously considering the second leg of the Triple Crown for Sir Shackleton and/or Royal Assault.
There were plenty of quips and comments from trainers and connections with Kentucky Derby (gr. I) hopefuls Tuesday night at the annual Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders trainers' dinner in Louisville.
A field of nine will try the Churchill Downs turf Friday in the $100,000 Crown Royal American Turf Stakes (gr. IIIT), the race immediately preceding the headliner on the day, the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
Favored Sir Shackleton, making his stakes debut, repelled the challenge of Courageous Act in the stretch and went on to post a convincing victory in Saturday's $110,800 Derby Trial (gr. III) on opening day at Churchill Downs.
Although the final time might have been a little faster than he would have preferred, trainer Nick Zito was pleased with Monday's workout by The Cliff's Edge as the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) winner continued to prepare for the May 1 Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
Marylou Whitney Stable's Birdstone, who was scratched from last week's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland, resumed serious preparation for Kentucky Derby 130 (gr. I) May 1 with a five-furlong workout on Thursday at Churchill Downs.
The Nick Zito-trained Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) winner The Cliff's Edge and Champagne (gr. I) winner Birdstone arrived Tuesday afternoon at Churchill Downs after a brief van ride from Keeneland.
With the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) only three weeks away, NBC Sports kicks off coverage of horseracing's 3-year-old picture on Saturday, with the 90-minute telecast of "NTRA Road to the Kentucky Derby."
Dogwood Stable's Limehouse, the recent winner of the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III), breezed an easy five furlongs just after the track renovation on Sunday morning, his final work for the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) to be run Saturday.
Trainer Nick Zito said Buckram Oak Farm's Eurosilver, one of the leading candidates for the Triple Crown events, is being treated for an infection and will miss the April 10 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland.
It seems as if each Monday brings with it a new set of excuses for beaten favorites in Kentucky Derby (gr. I) preps. Some will prove to be legitimate and some won't. But the bottom line is no one has a clue who is going to win this year's Derby, which is as muddled as any in memory at such a late date.
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