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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Travers Gets New Candidate from Gygistar Stakes


By Dick Downey

Declan's Warrior advanced an agenda of trainer Nick Zito Wednesday by winning the seven-furlong Gygistar Stakes -- and setting up a possible run in the Grade I Travers Stakes this Summer.

Declan's Warrior was reserved in the early running by Jose Lezcano in fourth and fifth of the five-horse field, about three lengths behind fractions of :22.52 and :45.13 set by Happy My Way. The son of Majestic Warrior got up to win by a neck, timed in 1:20.85. Tenango was second, followed a length by Battier. The order of finish was rounded out by Duke of the City and Happy My Way.

Zito said that while the seven-furlong Grade II Woody Stephens on Belmont Stakes day might be next for Declan's Warrior, he held out the prospect that the colt could stretch out four weeks later in the Grade II Dwyer with the Travers as an ultimate target.

“I needed the race. I had to get the race into him," Zito said. "I told Jose I trained him pretty hard for the race. I’m glad I did. That was an amazing race, 1:20 4/5. He’s a special horse.

"The Woody Stephens is a prestigious race, but it might be time to stretch him out, like the Dwyer or something. We might have to think about it. We’ll see. You go from the Dwyer to the Jim Dandy to the you-know-what-else, right?”

Lezcano raced Declan's Warrior according to plan. “My horse broke, and everybody else just sent them. I let him do his thing, and when I asked him, he really accelerated," the jockey said. "The horse on the lead, I didn’t know if I could catch him, but the last furlong when he saw that horse, he wanted to pass him. He did everything right and won the race.”

Out of Comanche Star by Saint Ballado, Declan's Warrior was bred in Kentucky by Lucky Shamrock Escrow and is owned by Lucky Shamrock Stable.

Equibase chart

It was the second stakes win for Declan's Warrior. In the seven-furlong, Grade III Bay Shore Stakes on April 6 at Aqueduct, he was also patiently ridden by Lezcano. Declan’s Warrior took advantage of a multi-horse scramble for the early lead and charged down the center of the track to win.


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