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Favored Zito keeps history on his side

The field

PP Horse Trainer Jockey Odds

1. Dave in Dixie John Sadler Calvin Borel 20-1

2. Spangled Star Rick Dutrow Garrett Gomez 30-1

3. Uptowncharlybrown Kiaran McLaughlin Rajiv Maragh 10-1

4. Make Music for Me Alexis Barba Joel Rosario 10-1

5. Fly Down Nick Zito John Velazquez 9-2

6. Ice Box Nick Zito Jose Lezcano 3-1

7. Drosselmeyer Bill Mott Mike Smith 12-1

8. Game On Dude Bob Baffert Martin Garcia 10-1

9. Stately Victor Mike Maker Alan Garcia 15-1

10. Stay Put Steve Margolis Jamie Theriot 20-1

11. First Dude Dale Romans Ramon Dominguez 7-2

12. Interactif Todd Pletcher Javier Castellano 12-1

NEW YORK — No one is in more of a New York state of mind these days than Nick Zito.

And why not?

The Brooklyn-born Hall of Fame trainer will be looking for his third win in six years in the $1 million Belmont Stakes today, and he has two of the three favorites for the final leg of the Triple Crown.

Ice Box, the Florida Derby winner who staged a tremendous rally to finish second in the Kentucky Derby, is the 3-1 morning-line choice. Fly Down, a lightly raced colt who blew away the field by 6 lengths in winning the Dwyer last month, is the 9-2 third choice.

The 142nd running of the Belmont might lack Derby winner Super Saver and Preakness winner Lookin At Lucky, but Zito says the Belmont is, well, the Belmont.

"It's big," he said. "It's a classic race. It's the Belmont."

Zito's pair tops a field of 12 3-year-old colts and geldings who will try to ace racing's "Test of the Champion," a 1½-mile lap around Belmont Park in the longest of the Triple Crown races.

"It's a tricky kind of race," Zito said. "Our horses are fine with the distance, we just want to see if they kick in. You have to fire at the right time, too."

First Dude poses a huge threat as the 7-2 second choice. Probably the biggest horse in the field — he stands 17 hands tall — the colt is coming off a gallant runner­up effort in the Preakness.

"The Belmont will be this horse's race because he wants to go a mile and a half," Romans said, "and he'll love the track."

The rest of the field is filled with long shots but don't discount the chances of 10-1 shots Game On Dude — trained by Bob Baffert — Make Music for Me and Uptowncharlybrown.

fast facts

Belmont Stakes

When: Today, 6:32 p.m. post time

Where: Belmont Park, Elmont, N.Y.

TV: Ch. 28, beginning at 5

Distance: 1½ miles

Weights: 126 pounds

Weather: Low 80s, 30 percent chance of rain

Purse: $1 million

Favored Zito keeps history on his side 06/04/10 [Last modified: Friday, June 4, 2010 9:54pm]
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