I spent most of Monday's diatribe discussing the merits of Nick Zito electing to pass on the 135th Preakness Stakes and send Kentucky Derby runner-up, Ice Box, on to the Belmont Stakes. Today, I am going to again discuss Nick Zito and harken some echoes of a past Preakness experience.
In 1996, my Kentucky Derby horse was Louis Quatorze. Since I have documented how I have not actually selected the winner of the Run For The Roses since Go For Gin in 1994, you can guess how this partnership turned out. Louis Quatorze barely ran a step on Derby Day and finished 16th out of 19 runners, well behind the classic photo between Grindstone and Cavonnier. Well, Zito decided to come back with Louis Quatorze in the Preakness, figuring he could do no worse than he already had in the Derby. He certainly did better, as Louis Quatorze held off the great Skip Away to win the middle jewel of the Triple Crown in front-running fashion, leading every step of the way to win by a widening three lengths at the finish. His winning time was a record-equalling 1:53.2. Louis Quatorze would go on to win the Jim Dandy later in 1996 and run a gallant second behind Alphabet Soup (and ahead of Cigar) in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Woodbine. If you would like to watch the 1996 Preakness, here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTxlDv_hGZ0.
What does this mean for this year's edition of the Preakness? Well, keep in mind that I selected the Zito-trained Jackson Bend to win the Derby this year. Jackson Bend finished an nonthreatening 12th in Louisville. Can Zito repeat history again this year? You can be certain that I will have Jackson Bend (who drew post #6 in the 12-horse Preakness field) on some of my mutuel tickets on Saturday.
Tune in tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!