Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito was his usual philosophical self the
morning after Fast Falcon finished
a fast-closing third to the dead-heating tandem of Alpha and Golden Ticket in
“You can see [the photo finish] and the dead heat, and you see
our horse, Fast Falcon, right in the picture,” said Zito. “The good
thing is that he’ll be part of history. That was good.”
In the Travers, Fast Falcon left from the outside post and trailed in
11th through the first six furlongs of the race, had his momentum
briefly stymied behind the faltering Street Life on the far turn, and closed
with a rush down the center of the home stretch to miss by a neck.
“A great race. We’re very, very proud, very happy, very
elated,” said Zito, who trains Fast Falcon for Richard C. Pell.
“The bittersweet thing is you know he could have won it. The horse who
got hurt stopped in front of him, Street Life. Eddie [Fountaine of the New York
Post] just reminded me that was the third [close loss] we had in the Travers.
We had Albert the Great [in 2000], we had Fly Down [in 2010], and now we have
While Zito was pleased with Fast Falcon’s performance, he said
the outcome of the race might have been different had some of the circumstances
“There are three factors,” said Zito. “Post position.
[Fast Falcon] draws 11. Maybe he draws seven. You already save some ground,
right? Then, the horse, Street Life, stops in front of him. And then [speed
horse] Hansen wasn’t in there.”
The trainer added that he would love to have a rematch with Alpha,
preferably in the Grade 1 TVG Jockey Club Gold Cup on September 29 at Belmont Park.
“I think if Alpha were to show up in the Gold Cup, we would give
it a whirl, just to see if we’re better than him, to keep pace with him,
see how good we are,” said Zito. “That’s the way I like to do
things. I’m not going for this Derby or Indiana or that. That
doesn’t do no good for us. This is what we like to do, right?”
Zito also lauded Fred J. Brei’s Fort
Loudon for finishing second by a half-length in the Foxwoods
King’s Bishop but felt that race also could have turned out differently
if winning trainer Rick Dutrow, Jr. didn’t have Willy Beamin make a
three-day turnaround off his victory in Wednesday’s Albany, a 1 1/8-mile
race for New York-breds.
“I don’t know why I always have to be in the middle of
something,” said Zito. “Yesterday, I finished second in the
King’s Bishop, and [Dutrow] runs the horse back in three days. I
don’t know. Here’s the odds. They tell you, ‘OK, Nick,
you’re going to beat Currency Swap, Doctor Chit, Trinniberg, etc., etc.,
but you’re going to lose.’ I would say, ‘How much do you want
to bet?’ We lost. That’s racing. That’s what makes it so
incredible. Things you see every day that you don’t see in any other
Zito added that he felt like Robert LaPenta’s Spin Out never got to put forward his best
effort when eighth in the Foxwoods King’s Bishop.
‘I’m very grateful about how [Fast Falcon, Fort Loudon,
and Spin Out] ran yesterday,” said Zito. “They all came back good,
ran good, every single one of them. Even Spin Out was in trouble in the
King’s Bishop. He had no chance to show what he had. They all ran
Jackson Bend, also
trained by Zito for LaPenta, remains tentatively on target for a title defense in
next Saturday’s Grade 1 Forego, two weeks after he collided with a horse
while galloping on the Oklahoma
training track. Zito said the 5-year-old will breeze tomorrow, his first work
since the incident.
“Like I say, that would be a miracle [if Jackson Bend won the
Forego],” said Zito. “There would be a lot of people believing in
God, including me. So that’s what we’re going to do. We’ll
see what happens. He’s fit. The workout he had [on August 16] was
amazing. It was [four furlongs in 49.33 seconds], but it was in a gallop.
He’s really ready. He likes it up here.”