BALTIMORE, 05-02-09---Trainer Nick Zito has saddled 19 Preakness® Stakes runners during his Hall of Fame career, including 1996 winner Louis Quatorze, with at least one starter in Maryland’s signature race in 15 of the previous 18 years. This afternoon at Pimlico Race Course, the Zito trained Miner’s Escape came home an impressive winner in the $75,000 Federico Tesio Stakes.
The Tesio has been used as a springboard to the Preakness by standouts such as Deputed Testamony (1983), Oliver’s Twist (1995) and Magic Weisner (2002). The 134th running of the middle jewel of racing’s Triple Crown is set for Saturday, May 16.
Sent to post at 7-2 odds as part of a Zito trained entry, Miner’s Escape broke forwardly under Luis Garcia and tracked pacesetting Tone It Down to the top of the stretch in the 1-1/8 mile test on the main track. When given the green light, the son of Mineshaft spurted past Tone It Down and drew off to post a 4-1/2 length victory, crossing under the finish line in 1:51.23. Hehasnosay rallied to take second. Tone It Down held on to finish third.
“They just told me to put him in the race early and he took the lead so he did everything himself,” Garcia said. “I was just a passenger today.”
The winner, who had broken his maiden in his previous start at Gulfstream Park, paid $9.60.
The Kentucky Derby day crowd in attendance in Maryland, who witnessed Mine That Bird’s upset win the Run For The Roses, totaled 14,527.