Zito told NYRA Press that he is no stranger to top-class sprinters.
“I had Mr. Greeley, I had a lot of good sprinters,” said Zito. “Mr. Greeley was as good a sprinter as there was. Over the years I always maintained trying to get distance horses, trying to get Classic horses, but you know, Najran still holds the track record for a mile at Belmont [1:32.24 set winning the Grade 3, Westchester Handicap on May 7, 2003]. [He tied] Dr. Fager’s record. A mile is kind of a sprint, and he was a good sprinter. He won the Phoenix [six furlongs at Keeneland], he won a lot of sprint races, too. So, we can sprint. We know how to transfer it.”
Conditioned in Florida by Stanley Gold – who trained Jackson Bend early in 2011 before he was sent back to Zito last summer – Fort Loudon won his first graded stakes on July 7, when he prevailed by neck over 2-5 favorite Trinniberg in the Grade 3 Carry Back at Calder Race Course.
“He’s talented,” said Zito of the Awesome of Course colt, who has won three straight sprints at Calder after an unsuccessful stint on the Triple Crown trail. “Fred breeds a good horse and he proves it time in and time out. Whatever his methods are, they work. I guess you could say they’re from the wrong side of the tracks, the other side of the tracks, but they wind up beating everybody, so it sounds good to me. The Amsterdam [Grade 2, $200,000 6 ½ furlongs on July 29] is a possibility. Fred told me, ‘Just use your own judgment,’ and, you know the other race he’s going to run in [the Foxwoods King’s Bishop].”
Awesome of Course stands in Ocala, Fla. at Brent and Crystal Fernung’s Journeyman Stud.
–NYRA Press contributed to this report.
Fort Loudon/Coady photo