Despite overnight rains that left Saratoga's main track muddy for the second consecutive morning, some key workouts were recorded Sunday for two grade I stakes for 3-year-olds contested at the spa next Saturday, the 1 1/4-mile Travers and the seven-furlong King's Bishop.
Noble Causeway, a late scratch prior to the Jim Dandy (gr. II) who was pulled up early in an allowance race Aug. 6, does not have a stress fracture, according to trainer Nick Zito. The colt was diagnosed by Dr. Larry Bramlage at the Rood and Riddle Equine Clinic in Lexington, Ky.
Trainer Nick Zito says Wood Memorial (gr. I) winner Bellamy Road, owned by George Steinbrenner's Kinsman Stable, is under consideration for the Travers (gr. I) after the colt worked five furlongs in 1:00 1/5 Saturday morning over a sloppy Saratoga track.
The classy sprinter Commentator was able to stretch his speed all the way to the wire under Gary Stevens in Saturday's $750,000 Whitney Handicap (gr. I), digging in to hold off Saint Liam by a neck at Saratoga Race Course.
The Nick Zito-trained 3-year-old colt Noble Causeway, a controversial late scratch in the Jim Dandy (gr. II) a week ago, was eased by jockey Ramon Dominguez in the third race at Saratoga Race Course Saturday.
Thoroughbred racing will honor trainer Nick Zito and three others when the class of 2005 is inducted into the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame on Monday.
The top three finishers in Saturday's Jim Dandy (gr. II) at Saratoga are all expected to return in a month's time for the track's signature race, the $1 million Travers (gr. I).
Tracy Farmer's Sun King, fitted with blinkers by trainer Nick Zito, went gate to wire to win the $300,000 Leonard Richards (gr. III) for 3-year-olds by 5 3/4 lengths Sunday at Delaware Park.
David Cassidy, a well known entertainer and longtime Thoroughbred owner and breeder, will deliver the keynote speech during the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Trainer Nick Zito says he'll probably start recent allowance winner Indy Storm in next Saturday's $1 million Belmont Stakes (gr. I), giving him three contenders for the final jewel of the Triple Crown.
Nick Zito, soon to become racing's newest Hall of Fame trainer, committed Sir Barton winner Pinpoint to the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 11 after the son of Peaks and Valleys worked Thursday at Saratoga's Oklahoma training track.
Maylou Whitney and her husband, John Hendrickson, who won the grade I Belmont Stakes and Travers last year and the Kentucky Oaks in 2003, have hired Nick Zito assistant Reynaldo Abreu as their private trainer.
Burnish, who liked the sloppy surface at Keeneland in her last start, also enjoyed the off going Friday at Pimlico, splashing home to win the $100,000 Miss Preakness (gr. III) under Rafael Bejarano.
Nick Zito ran five horses in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) -- including the favorite -- and no one has to remind him they finished seventh, eighth, 10th, 14th, and 15th. But the Preakness (gr. I) is a new day, Zito said Friday morning at Pimlico.
Afleet Alex, the only contender for the May 21 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) currently at Pimlico, went out onto the main track twice Saturday morning.
Trainer Tim Ritchey confirmed Wednesday that Afleet Alex will be the first Preakness (gr. I) shipper to arrive at the Pimlico stakes barn. The third place finisher in Saturday's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) is to get on a van Wednesday morning at Churchill and is expected at Old Hilltop in the late afternoon.
Bellamy Road, who finished seventh in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) as the 5-2 favorite, popped a splint Tuesday morning in his left front leg and will miss at least 30 days of training.
Three of trainer Nick Zito's five Kentucky Derby (gr. I) starters drilled Sunday morning at Churchill Downs and all three "went exceptionally well" for the two-time Derby-winning trainer. All three worked under blue skies and cool weather with exercise rider Maxine Correa aboard.
Tuesday's activity can be pretty much summed up in two words: Afleet Alex -- with the emphasis on Afleet. Working over a loose track that was playing on the slow side, Alex blazed his five furlongs in :59, with several others getting him in :58 3/5.
Kinsman Stable's Bellamy Road, the early favorite for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), breezed an easy five furlongs in 1:02 4/5 at Churchill Downs Thursday morning. It was the colt's first work since his 17 1/2-length romp in the Wood Memorial (gr. I) April 9.
As many as five colts who raced in Saturday's Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) may return in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), to be run May 7 at Churchill Downs.
In the Gold dueled with Aspen Tree at the top of the stretch, gradually pulling away to a 1 1/4-length win in the $250,000 Stonerside Beaumont Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies Thursday at Keeneland.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick - Only one trainer in the modern era of Thoroughbred racing--D. Wayne Lukas--has started more horses in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) than Nick Zito. Beginning with Thirty Six Red in 1990, Zito has sent 14 horses postward in the Run for the Roses. Two of them have won: Strike the Gold in 1991 and Go for Gin in 1994. He's sitting in the catbird seat with as many as five potential contenders for the 2005 Kentucky Derby.
In the Gold, who just missed in her last start and before that ran into the buzz saw known as Sis City, should be the favorite in a short field Thursday in Keeneland's Stonerside Beaumont Stakes (gr. II).
On the strength of his 17 1/2-length victory in Saturday's Wood Memorial (gr. I) at Aqueduct, Kinsman Stable's Bellamy Road emerged from a record-smashing third and final pool of Churchill Downs' 2005 Kentucky Derby Future Wager as a strong 3-1 favorite to win the famed "Run for the Roses" on May 7.
George Steinbrenner's Bellamy Road became a serious contender for next month's Kentucky Derby (Gr. I) with a stunning 17 1/2-length victory over a half dozen overmatched rivals in Saturday's $750,000 Wood Memorial (gr. I) at Aqueduct.
Blanked with his 16 previous starters, trainer Nick Zito finally won the Florida Derby (gr. I) when his heavily favored High Fly rolled to a confident victory for Jerry Bailey Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
Trainer Nick Zito, who has failed to win the Florida Derby (gr. I) in 16 prior attempts, will saddle the top two morning-line favorites in Saturday's $1-million race.
Tracy Farmer's Sun King, sent off as the 1-20 wagering favorite in the $250,000 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) Saturday, showed some true grit while fending off a couple of challenges from the quarter pole to mid-stretch before pulling away to a 3 1/4-length victory.
Live Oak Plantation's High Fly, early favorite for the Florida Derby (gr. I) - Gulfstream's showcase event for 3-year-olds with Kentucky Derby aspirations - breezed five furlongs in 1:02 at the Palm Meadows training center Saturday morning.
Tracy Farmer's homebred Sir Shackleton wore down the surprise pacesetter Clock Stopper in the final sixteenth of a mile after a long drive and drew clear to win the $200,000 Richter Scale Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) in track record time at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
Kinsman Stable's Bellamy Road rocketed onto the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) scene Saturday when he ran off to a 15 3/4-length victory in a one-mile allowance race at Gulfstream Park in his first start for new trainer Nick Zito.
Thanks to High Fly's victory in the $300,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) and Noble Causeway's stylish win in a $33,000 allowance, trainer Nick Zito is building a stockpile of Kentucky Derby contenders and crystallized his hold on favorite status for the $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I) April 2.
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.
Tracy Farmer's Sun King, third in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and Champagne Stakes (gr. I), will make his 3-year-old debut in a one-mile allowance race at Gulfstream Park Feb. 26.
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.
Fusao Sekiguchi's Fusaichi Samurai, co-future book favorite for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) despite only a maiden victory to his credit, has sustained a pulled muscle in his left hind leg, suffered in a workout, and has been taken off the Derby trail, trainer Neil Drysdale said Friday.
The journey to the 2005 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) may only be in its very early stages, but the continued adventures of Robert LaPenta -- "the Accidental Owner" -- are already unfolding. The master of Russian roulette has several guns loaded, and it will be interesting to see in what direction they'll be fired this spring.
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.
The Churchill Downs spotlight shines on the 2-year-olds Saturday as the fall meet concludes with the $200,000-added Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II) and the $200,000 Golden Rod (gr. II) for fillies.
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, winner of the Belmont (gr. I) and Travers Stakes (gr. I) this year, has been retired after a radiograph taken Nov. 2 revealed a P-1 medial chip in the colt's left front ankle.
A rundown on some of the major participants in Saturday's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. Some will be retired, while others remain in training and will attempt the Breeders' Cup at Belmont Park.
Live Oak Plantation's In the Gold was withdrawn from Saturday's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) after developing a fever.
Tomiro Fukami's Personal Rush, who will run in the $4-million Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I), paid his first visit to the track Tuesday morning, and it was almost an hour before he finally made his way back to his barn.
Marylou Whitney's Birdstone, winner of the Belmont (gr. I) and Travers (gr. I), breezed six furlongs in 1:16 4/5 over a muddy training track at Saratoga Oct. 22 in preparation for the $4-million Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) at Lone Star Park Oct. 30.
Although no horse has won the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) coming off a layoff of more than 49 days, Richard Mandella, trainer of Pleasantly Perfect, and Marylou Whitney, owner of Birdstone, are confident taking their respective horses to Lone Star Park for the Oct. 30 World Thoroughbred Championships off layoffs of 69 and 63 days.
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.
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.
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