William Schettine’s 3-year-old colt Piscitelli worked five
furlongs in 1:01 1/5 at Palm Meadows Friday morning with jockey Kent Desormeaux
aboard for trainer Rick Sacco as he prepares for his season debut in next
Saturday’s $150,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
“He went very well and galloped out six furlongs in
1:12.70,” said Sacco, racing manager and now private trainer for Schettine. “We
wanted Kent (Desormeaux) to get a feel of where he is at this point and the
Holy Bull looks like the right place to get him started.
“I brought this horse to Mr. Schettine’s attention as a
possible purchase at the OBS April sales (2-year-olds) and he bought him
($60,000),” said Sacco. “My brother (Gregory Sacco) was the trainer last year.
After his first two races at Monmouth
I took him on the road for the rest of the season for Gregg, but I’ll be the
trainer of record this year.”
When last seen under colors, Piscitelli broke on top in the
$2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita on Nov. 7 and led the
field on a merry chase into the stretch with Desormeaux aboard for the first
time, finishing a game fourth, beaten only three-quarters of a length for it
all by longshot European raider Vale of York.
A son of 1998 Belmont Stakes winner Victory Gallop,
Piscitelli raced on the lead in the Breeders’ Cup after rallying from last of
14 to finish fifth in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland (Oct. 10) in his
previous start. He was also third in the Arlington-Washington Futurity
(G3) in Chicago
(Sept. 5), closing from off the pace.
“Mr. Schettine and I discussed it before the Breeders’ Cup
after he drew post 2, and remembering that he showed speed and was right up on
the pace in his first race at Monmouth, Kent could elect to use his speed and
maybe get clear early in the race, and that’s what happened.”
The field for the one-mile Holy Bull appears to be coming
up strong with the list of probable starters also including Robert LaPenta’s
Jackson Bend, Lewis Lazzinarro and partners’ Homeboykris, Fox Hill Farm’s
Winslow Homer and Dogwood Stable’s Aikenite.
Trainer Todd Pletcher has seven 3-year-olds from his
talented stable eligible for the Holy Bull and confirmed Thursday that Aikenite
was on target to start. The son of Yes It’s True finished fifth in the
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, 1 ¾ lengths behind Piscitelli with some trouble in the
A son of Yes It’s True, Aikenite was a $225,000 OBS
February 2-year-old sales purchase and finished a close-up second in the
Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland. The winner that day was Noble’s Promise,
who beat Aikenite a half-length before going on to finish third in the
Breeders’ Cup. Aikenite had won his career debut at Saratoga
and finished third in the Hopeful Stakes (G1) at the Spa in two starts prior to
the Keeneland race.