By Jon Forbes | 06/20/2010 03:07 PM ET
With talented 3-year-olds Ice Box, Fly Down, Jackson Bend, Miner’s Reserve, and Our Dark Knight in his barn, Nick Zito is poised to make some noise in the second half of 2010. And following today’s fourth race at Belmont Park, you can add Gallant Fields to the list of sharp Zito sophomores.
Making the second start of his career on a muggy day at Belmont Park, Gallant Fields pressed the pace in the two path through a half in a testing 45.37, then ran away from his rivals under a drive in the stretch to win by a widening 8¼ lengths with Jose Lezcano aboard.
“I was very, very happy with [Gallant Fields’ performance],” said Zito, who trains the son of Smarty Jones on behalf of Paul Braverman and Suffolk Downs’ majority owner Richard Fields. “We take our time with them, and sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn’t. He’s a big horse, and from time to time he had what we call ‘interruptions.’”
After drawing the rail for his debut, a seven-furlong maiden special weight at Belmont on May 23, Gallant Fields trailed the field in fifth early and passed tiring horses in the lane to finish third, 10¼ lengths behind Safety Check.
“We definitely liked him last time,” said Zito. “[Jockey] Javier [Castellano] didn’t have the greatest of breaks, and we didn’t have the chance to see what he’s made of.”
After handling Gallant Fields patiently so far in 2010, Zito will continue to bide his time with the colt early this summer.
“We’re going to go nice and steady” said Zito. “The next race will be an allowance, and we’ll go from there.”
Bred in Kentucky by W. S. Farish & Kilroy Thoroughbred Partnership, Gallant Fields is out of Mystery Trip, a daughter of Weekend Surprise, who was named the 1992 Broodmare of the Year after producing the 1990 Grade 1 Preakness winner Summer Squall and the 1992 Horse of the Year A.P. Indy.
A half-sister to Gallant Fields named Jakonda sold for $1 million at the 2007 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, and that daughter of Kingmambo would later place in a pair of stakes in France. In comparison, Braverman and Fields needed just $150,000 to secure Gallant Fields when he passed through the Keeneland sales ring one year later.
“It doesn’t matter what you pay for them,” said Zito. “The horse doesn’t know how much he cost. They bought two other horses, and it hasn’t worked out at all. As I said earlier, sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.”
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