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Stall Has Options With Central Banker

Trainer Al Stall reported that 3-year-old colt Central Banker exited his 3 ¾-length score Thursday in the $100,000 Smirnoff Sorbet Quick Call, a 5 ½-furlong turf sprint, in fine fettle.

 

Central Banker, who had not run since November 17 last year, chased a solid pace in fifth place and then angled out sharply on the turn and blew away the field after bumping slightly with Strike the Note.

 

The Quick Call was Central Banker's second win in two starts on the Saratoga turf; the son of Speightstown broke his maiden there last August.

 

"He had a good little vacation and then popped a splint at the Fair Grounds, and we had to give him a little more time," Stall said, explaining Central Banker's extended layoff. "Then there wasn't the right type of race for him at Churchill, so he's been ready to run for a month, and that's how they run good races. We had a month to sweeten him up, and he was kind of ready. You never expect that [kind of big effort], but the race set up for him."


Central Banker also has a dirt sprint victory on his resume, and Stall is considering a return to that surface. The colt is nominated to the Grade 3, $300,000 Gallant Bob, a six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds on September 21 at Parx Racing, but Stall didn't rule out another run at Saratoga.

 

"We'll just play it by ear," he said. "A horse that runs that big off an 8 ½-month layoff probably needs a little bit of time to get himself caught up. We've got options."

 

*             *          *

 

Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito has supplemented Marylou Whitney's Flying Bird to the $100,000 Sir Cat, a one-mile overnight turf stakes for 3-year-olds on Sunday, hoping to get the once-promising son of Street Boss back on the right track. 

 

After three starts on dirt as a 2-year-old, Flying Bird switched to turf and broke his maiden, then scored by two lengths in a 10-horse allowance race, showing a good finishing kick.

 

Zito put Flying Bird into the Kitten's Joy Stakes in January at Gulfstream Park and the 3-year-old wound up eighth behind Charming Kitten, who later finished third in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes, second in the inaugural Penn Mile and second in the Grade 2 Virginia Derby.

 

Freshened, Flying Bird returned in an allowance at Delaware Park and finished 11th, leaving Zito puzzled. 

 

"Hopefully, he'll rebound over here at Saratoga," Zito said. "He's doing extremely well. So, hopefully, he can have his good closing kick and get back on track. We took him to the gate a little while ago, and he was good. He had a breathing problem that we corrected. I took him to Delaware, and I don't know what happened down there. You never know first time back, but, hopefully, he'll run good."

 

The Sir Cat drew a strong field, including Joha, winner of the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity last year at Keeneland, and Winning Cause, who took the Grade 3 Lexington this past spring at Keeneland.

 

 

 

 

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