Fly Down’s last-to-first victory in the Grade 2, $200,000
Dwyer on a blustery Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park
may have earned the colt a shot at the Belmont Stakes.
The 3-year-old son of Mineshaft barreled into the lead
rounding the far turn and pulled clear to a six-length win over 3-5 favorite
Drosselmeyer in the Dwyer, which in its new spot on The New York Racing
Association, Inc. (NYRA) calendar serves as a steppingstone to the 142nd
running of the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes on June 5.
Trained by Hall of Famer Nick Zito, who also has Kentucky
Derby runner-up Ice Box under consideration for the final leg of racing’s
Triple Crown, Fly Down covered the 1 1/8th miles in 1:50.25 as he
extended his record to three victories from five starts.
“We’ll see what happens in the next 30 days,” said Zito, a
two-time winner of the 1 ½ mile Belmont,
by telephone. “He puts a lot into his races. If he has a good month, if he
rebounds from this, if he’s OK, we’ll look at the Belmont.”
Fly Down, purchased for $80,000 by owner Richard C. Pell at
the 2008 Keeneland September Sale, broke his maiden going 1 1/16th
miles at Churchill Downs in his second start as a 2-year-old, and then won a 1
1/8th mile allowance at Gulfstream Park
to launch his sophomore campaign in February.
Fly Down next finished ninth after being steadied in the
March 27 Louisiana
Derby at the Fair
“We’ve always given him a nice break between races,” said
Pell, a money manager from New York.
‘Nick has told me from the very beginning, “He’s a Belmont horse, and he didn’t just mean Belmont Park,
he meant the Belmont Stakes. The horse has always handled himself like a pro. I
thought he would run well today and that this track would suit him, but he
really was impressive.”
Sent off as the 7-2 second choice, Fly Down returned $9.20
as he earned $120,000 and nearly tripled his bankroll to $182,070.
“When I asked, he gave me everything he had,’ said winning
jockey Jose Lezcano. “He’s going to be a good horse.”
WinStar Farm’s Drosselmeyer, another Belmont
candidate, rallied from fifth on the turn to finish 1 3/4 lengths head of
Remand, who in turn was followed by Soaring Empire, Carnivore, Turf Melody, and
“He slipped behind when they first broke, but he finished up
and galloped out well,” said Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott of Drosselmeyer,
who had finished third in the Louisiana Derby in his last start. “I wouldn’t
think [this would affect our Belmont
plans], but I still have to talk to the rest of the team.”