Stephanoatsee Could End Drought in Fayette
October 23, 2014 08:33am

It has been a long time since My Meadowview Farm’s Stephanoatssee visited the winner’s circle, something trainer Nick Zito hopes will change Saturday afternoon after the $200,000 Hagyard Fayette (G2).

“He’s a gorgeous-looking horse,” said Zito, who got the 5-year-old son of A.P. Indy in his barn this summer. “He’s a tryer and it would be nice to win a stake with him.”

A half-brother to 2011 Preakness (G1) winner Shackleford, Stephanoatsee started his career with Graham Motion and briefly joined trainer David Carroll’s barn this year before going to Zito. His most recent victory came in the Barbaro Stakes at Delaware Park on Oct. 20, 2012.

“His first start for me was an allowance at Belmont and then he was second in an allowance at Saratoga and those allowances there are like stakes,” Zito said.

Stephanoatsee returned to stakes competition in the Woodward (G1), in which he finished fifth beaten three lengths, and the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1).

“He got a 103 (speed figure) in the Woodward,” Zito said. “He had a lot of trouble in the Gold Cup and was moved up to fourth.”

A victory by Stephanoatsee on Saturday would give Zito his first stakes win here since 2006, when he sent out Wanderin Boy to win the Ben Ali (G3).

“This will be (Stephanoatsee’s) last start of the year,” said Zito, who has run only the occasional starter at Keeneland since 2006, but has had a sizeable string here this meet. “It was either this or the Clark (Handicap, G1 at Churchill Downs on Nov. 28). I thought this might be a good spot for him.”

Julien Leparoux will have the mount Saturday in the 1 1/8-mile test and break from post position three.

Source: Keeneland


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