With Chavez, Albert the Great heads Special field of 6

Favorite in Grade I stakes to start from the third post

Horse Racing

May 10, 2001|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

Albert the Great will break from Post 3 as the likely heavy favorite Saturday in the Pimlico Special at Pimlico Race Course.

After six horses were entered in the Grade I stakes worth $750,000, Pimlico oddsmaker Clem Florio tabbed Albert the Great the 4-5 morning-line favorite. Albert the Great will carry top weight of 121 pounds, including jockey Jorge Chavez, fresh from his Kentucky Derby victory aboard Monarchos.

Nick Zito trains the 4-year-old Albert the Great for his Kentucky owner Tracy Farmer. Zito knows what it takes to win the Pimlico Special, having done it twice - with Strike the Gold (1992) and Star Standard (1996).

"You could say I'm like Johnny Ward; I'm a traditionalist," Zito said, referring to John Ward Jr., trainer of Monarchos. "The Pimlico Special is one of the great races and fits perfectly with what we hope to accomplish with Albert this year."

The goal, Zito said, is the Breeders' Cup Classic this fall at Belmont Park.

Albert the Great's main competition in the Special may be stabled down Interstate 95 at Laurel Park. Include, the Maryland horse, is the 3-1 second choice. He will break from the rail and carry 114 pounds. His jockey is Jerry Bailey.

Trained by Grover G. "Bud" Delp and bred and owned by Robert E. Meyerhoff, Include has climbed the ladder of stakes races to this Grade I staple. This will be his toughest test as a 4-year-old after winning two stakes at the Fair Grounds, including the Grade II New Orleans Handicap, and then prepping for the Special with a victory April 21 in the Jennings Handicap at Pimlico.

A month and a half ago it appeared that the Pimlico Special would be the best race of the year so far for older horses. Tiznow, reigning Horse of the Year, and Captain Steve, winner of the $6 million Dubai World Cup, were both being pointed to the Special.

But Tiznow suffered an injury and was sidelined. And Captain Steve did not bounce back from the Dubai race as quickly as his trainer Bob Baffert had hoped.

That left the Special with Albert the Great and Include, plus Pleasant Breeze (6-1), trained by H. James Bond, Sergeant York (8-1), an English horse making his first start in the United States, and Milwaukee Brew (5-1) and Laredo (20-1), a pair trained by Joe Orseno.

Orseno won the Special last year with Golden Missile.

Field for Pimlico Special

PP Horse......................Trainer..........Jockey................. Last race............................. Odds

1. Include......................Bud Delp..... Jerry Bailey....... 1st Jennings Handicap..... 3-1

2. Pleasant Breeze.... H. James Bond.... Corey Nakatani.... 2nd Gulfstream Park Handicap ..... 6-1

3. Albert the Great..... Nick Zito......Jorge Chavez..... 1st Widener Handicap........ 4-5

4. Milwaukee Brew... Joe Orseno... Edgar Prado..... 3rd Westchester Handicap... 5-1

5. Laredo.....................Joe Orseno.....Rick Wilson.......4th Aqueduct allowance.......20-1

6. Sergeant York........T.D. Barron.... Harry Vega .......1st stakes in England............ 8-1

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