Coming off a game and sharp triumph in the $150,000 Gulfstream Park
Sprint Championship (G3), Fort Loudon is scheduled to step up in
distance and class Saturday. The Nick Zito-trained 4-year-old, who’ll be
asked to stretch out from seven furlongs to a mile, is set to clash
with Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Fort Larned in the $300,000
Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2).
“The race is ideal for him. These are the kind of races this
particular horse likes to run in. Hopefully, he stays the way he was
last time. I don’t see a reason why not because he’s had some great
weeks,” trainer Nick Zito said.
Fort Loudon has raced twice in a one-turn mile race, a fourth-place
finish in the 2011 Holy Bull (G1) at Gulfstream and a second-place
finish behind Neck n Neck in the 2012 Ack Ack Handicap (G3).
Fort Loudon has run three times at the Gulfstream Park meeting,
finishing second against Bahamian Squall in the $100,000 Sunshine State
at six furlongs and a distant third behind Ron the Greek in the Sunshine
Millions Classic at 1 1/8 miles before capturing the Gulfstream Sprint.
“He’s tough as nails. He’s going to have to be, obviously,” Zito
said. “I’m happy the way he’s training and acts the way he acts. He
usually comes to run all the time.”
Fort Loudon is scheduled to be in receipt of six pounds from 124-pound highweight Fort Larned in the Gulfstream Park Handicap.
“It helps him if they’re going to the wire together. If he happens
to be in a head duel like he was last time, it’ll help,” Zito said. “I
hope it’s between the two Forts.”
Jose Lezcano has the return mount aboard the Florida-bred son of Awesome of Course.