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Zito Discusses Jackson Bend, Casual Trick

The morning after capturing his second career Grade 1 victory in thrilling fashion, Jackson Bend was full of energy in his stall at Belmont Park.

 

“He looks perfect and is doing great,” said Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito, who confirmed that his 5-year-old charge’s next target would be the Grade 1, $750,000 Metropolitan Handicap on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28 at Belmont Park.

 

With his narrow nose triumph over Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Caleb’s Posse in yesterday’s Carter Handicap, the Robert LaPenta-owned Jackson Bend pushed his career earnings over $1.5 million, remained unbeaten in four starts at seven furlongs, and earned a litany of superlatives from his trainer.

 

“What an unbelievable performance. He has to be one of the gutsiest horses that I have ever trained,” said Zito, who continues to marvel at how Jackson’s Bend diminutive stature belies his talent level.

 

“If you look at him, you ask yourself, ‘How can he perform this way?’ He’s incredible.”

 

Zito also reported that Casual Trick, who was vanned off after having breathing problems in the Wood Memorial, will be examined by a veterinarian that specializes in diagnosing breathing problems at some point within the next week.

 

“He’s feeling so good, his coat is perfect, his blood work was fabulous, but unfortunately he has some breathing problems,” Zito said. “We are going to bring in a special vet that will watch him breathe with a Dynamic Respiratory Scope. We need to correct the situation.”

 

The 3-year-old son of Bernardini, also owned by LaPenta, displayed talent earlier in his career and went into an allowance race on January 29 at Gulfstream Park favored over two horses that have experienced recent graded success. He finished eighth in that race.

 

“He went into the allowance race with Take Charge Indy and El Padrino as the favorite,” said Zito. “Those two horses went on to win the Florida Derby (Take Charge Indy) and Risen Star (El Padrino). We have a really nice horse and he is perfectly sound.”

 

Zito added that his vets had given him clearance to race Casual Trick in the Wood Memorial after he scoped well and looked great after his most recent work.

 

 “Why would I want to put him on the plane and run him [if he wasn’t sound]?” Zito said. “This is a really good, talented horse. We have to get to the bottom of this.”

  

 

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