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Fly Down, Morning Line Headline Donn

25 September 2010: Morning Line, trained by Nick Zito and ridden by John Velazquez, wins the Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing, Philadelphia Park, Bensalem, PA. (photo by Joan Fairman Kanes)

How strong is the field for the $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I)? Included among the nine starters is a horse that enters off a win in a Breeders’ Cup race, another that bagged the Clark Handicap (gr. I) last out, and a third that set a track record in his season debut. And none of those three are likely to be favored when they go to post Feb. 5 at Gulfstream Park for the key 1 1/8-mile contest for older horses.

Nick Zito trainees Fly Down and Morning Line, both thought to be among the top handicap horses in 2011, could wind up as the top two choices in a star-studded Donn, the feature of an 11–race card that also includes the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (gr. IT) and Suwannee River Stakes (gr. IIIT). Post time is slated for 5:25 p.m. EDT. Multiple graded stakes winners Rule and I Want Revenge are also part of the contentious Donn field.
A week after scoring in the Holy Bull (gr. III) with Dialed In, Zito holds a strong hand in another lucrative Gulfstream race. Stablemates Fly Down and Morning Line, both grade II winners as 3-year-olds a year ago, form a solid one-two punch as uncoupled entries. Fly Down, the 122-pound high weight, will make his season debut after closing out his sophomore campaign with a solid third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) at Churchill Downs. The son of Mineshaft recorded his biggest win in the Dwyer (gr. II) and was runner-up in the Belmont Stakes and Travers (both gr. I), and third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I).
Julien Leparoux has the mount on Fly Down, who runs for Richard Pell.

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