Zito Says Commentator Ready For The Whitney
Venerable Commentator continues to impress his trainer Nick Zito.
The 8-year-old Commentator, who is in quest of a record-tying third Whitney Handicap score, recorded an “unbelievable” work on Saturday morning on the Oklahoma Training Track, covered a half-mile in 47.85 seconds. The move, with exercise rider Maxine Correa in the irons, was the second-best work of 19 at the distance, with stablemate Da’ Tara leading the way (47.55 seconds).
This year’s edition of the $750,000 Whitney will be run next Saturday over its traditional 1Ţ-mile distance.
“Commentator was terrific, unbelievable,” Zito said. “It was nice and smooth, like silk. He was absolutely beautiful. Let’s hope he has a good week and a good on Saturday.”
Commentator, who won the Whitney in 2005 and 2008, will attempt to become just the third horse to win the Whitney three times — as just Kelso and Discovery have pulled off the feat.
Zito added that Miner’s Escape, scratched from Saturday’s Jim Dandy will be pointed toward a more comfortable spot.
“The race came up very tough,” he said.
Busy week ahead for Mechanicville’s Brown
Trainer Chad Brown has a busy stakes schedule next week as he’ll send out Smooth Air in the Grade I Whitney next Saturday and will saddle Eaton’s Gift for the Grade II Alfred G. Vanderbilt next Sunday. Both entrants are newer additions to the barn for Brown, and both are expected to breeze this morning.
Smooth Air, in his first start for Brown, finished second as the favorite in the Grade III Salvador Mile Handicap at Monmouth Park on July 4.
“We’ve made a few adjustments, and he seems to be training better up at Saratoga than he did at Belmont,” said Brown, a Mechanicville native. “I think the change of scenery has helped.”
Before joining Brown’s barn, Eaton’s Gift won the Grade II Smile Sprint Handicap at Calder on July 11 for trainer Dale Romans. Maram, who broke her maiden at Saratoga last year and went on to win the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Sprint for Brown, will make her next start in next Saturday’s $70,000-added Ann Clare, a one-mile overnight stakes race on the turf.
Cabaret Cowboy takes a step up in Amsterdam
Cabaret Cowboy, fresh off an allowance victory, will move up in class to face 3-year-old Quality Road among others in the Grade II Amsterdam on Monday.
“We thought he was a top-quality horse since he was a 2-year-old,” trainer Seth Benzel said. “He has some baby type stuff, immaturity. We thought we’d let him grown up. Ever since he came back (in May), he’s trained like a real nice horse.”
Cabaret Cowboy went winless in three starts as a 2-year-old, but has won his first two sprints this year by a combined 7˝ lengths.
“Whether it’s now or later, he’ll step up and be a real nice horse,” Benzel said. “We’ll be slightly off the pace, but he’ll be coming at the end. I guarantee it.”
Keep an eye on Chimayo’s debut today
Chimayo, a 2-year-old filly purchased for $3.1 million in the September 2008 sales at Keeneland, will make her debut in today’s fifth race, a six-furlong maiden race. The Darley Stable-owned Chimayo, a daughter of A.P. Indy, has been in training at Saratoga and recorded a bullet in her last workout, breezing in 59.03 seconds over the Greentree Training Center’s artificial track on July 27.
“She’s trained pretty much at Greentree all summer,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. “But she’s very classy and she does everything right.”
by Chris Fitzgerald
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