“He’s doing really well right now,” Pita said of Billos Boy. “I think he’s only going to get better with more distance. To be honest, I wish we were running further than six furlongs on Saturday; that’s how much I think added distance is going to help.”
“He didn’t wear them in his debut,” Pita said of Billos Boy’s April 22 third-place performance. “So we added them for his next start, which he won. There’s no doubt that they helped that day. But as he’s gotten older and matured, I don’t feel he needs them as much. Most young horses want to be speed-balls, and we needed to teach him to relax.”
The Dr. Fager drew just six entrants, with the compact group of juveniles led by Two T’s At Two B, a colt that has won both of his career starts by a combined 12 ½ lengths, including a 5 ¼-length win in the Frank Gomez where he was 6 ¾ lengths better than Billos Boy.
“There’s no doubt he’ll be tough,” Pita said of the likely favorite. “But the horse that I’m a little scared of is (trainer Eddie) Plesa’s horse (Dixie High). I watched him break his maiden and he looks like he could be a real good one.
“But my horse is maturing and getting better every day, so if he runs the way I think he can, we should be right there with those two.”
One race after starting Billos Boy in the Dr. Fager, Pita will return to the Calder paddock to put the saddle on first time starter Talent N Passion for the Desert Vixen.
“I’ve always thought highly of her,” Pita said of the filly. “She looks and acts the part. And she’s been working lights-out leading up to this.”
The decision to unveil Talent N Passion in a stakes race wasn’t easy at first, but as the hours fell from the clock on entry day and Pita stayed abreast of how the race was filling, the trainer decided to enter the filly.
“In this game, you have to be aware of what the competition is doing,” Pita said. “I had an idea of who was going in the race, and you could arguably enter any maiden race at the meet and it could up tougher than this race. So that, combined with a chance to run for a $75,000 purse, made the decision easy.
“And if it doesn’t work out, we can regroup and try something different,” Pita said. “But I don’t think that will be the case. I think she’s capable of making up in quality what she is lacking in experience.”
Jockey Jesus Rios has the mount aboard both Billos Boy and Talent N Passion.
ANGELOFDISTINCTION WINS; NOW WAITS
While Pita will start two potential stars on Saturday, last weekend proved a showcase for one of his proven runners as Angelofdistinction returned to the winner’s circle following a half-length victory in a salty allowance race where the 3-year-old defeated a trio of older stakes winners in Thank U Philippe, Riversrunrylee, and Determinato.
“I think we saw that day exactly what he is; a pretty good come-from-behind sprinter,” Pita said. “I also think what we saw from that race is how good Fort Loudon and Trinniberg are, and why I think they’re both going to do well at Saratoga (in the King’s Bishop).”
Fort Loudon and Trinniberg, separated by a neck in the Grade 3 Carry Back Stakes, were 14 lengths clear of third-place finisher Angelofdistinction in that race. Angelofdistinction was also third to Fort Loudon in the $75,000 Unbridled Stakes and the $75,000 In Summation Stakes.
“The difficult part now is finding a race to point for,” Pita said. “An allowance race that he is eligible for likely wouldn’t go, and there isn’t a stake on the schedule that fits. Hopefully there is an overnight stake coming up that we can run him in.”
CSABA HEADED TO HALL OF FAME STAKES
Trainer Phil Gleaves has confirmed that Bruce Hollander and Cary Shapoff’s recent El Kaiser Stakes winner Csaba is being pointed towards a start in next month’s Grade 2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes run on the turf at Saratoga.
A son of Kitten’s Joy, out of the War Chant mare High Chant, Csaba has made two appearances on the grass during his 10-race career, finishing third behind subsequent stakes winners Howe Great and Dullahan in the Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream, in addition to a close fifth-place performance in the Dania Beach Stakes where was beaten just over two lengths by Summer Front, who has since returned to win the Grade 3 Hill Prince and is unbeaten in five turf tries.
The Grade 2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes, run at the distance 1 1/16 miles, is scheduled for Friday, August 10.