Six Triple Crown nominees are among the nine runners in Saturday’s Federico Tesio Stakes, a local steppingstone to the Preakness Stakes. No Kentucky Derby points are involved.
Kid Cruz, the 2-1 morning line favorite, entered Linda Rice’s barn via the claim box for $50,000 and has started twice for his New York-based trainer, including a second in an entry level allowance at Aqueduct and a victory the Private Terms Stakes at Laurel Park where he rallied from nearly 20 lengths back to win going away. He reunites with Julian Pimentel.
“At the beginning he didn’t want any part of that race,” Pimentel said. “What I learned was that I have to keep after him, keep him busy. I knew he can get going late. There is some speed in the race, which should help.”
Oliver Zip (5-2) won the Fred Capossela at Aqueduct before a near-miss second in the Bay Shore Stakes. Before that he was second sprinting in both the Jimmy Winkfield and Don Rickles Stakes. The front-running son of City Zip, who is trained by Kelly Breen, picks up Sheldon Russell.
“This is his first time stretching out, so I will have to see what Kelly wants to do,” Russell said. “He has done all his running up front but we’ll have to see how he handles the break. There is a lot of speed in here, and with it being his first time around two turns we’ll see if we can get him to relax and get him home.”
Undertaker (5-1) is two-for-five lifetime, including a win over Kid Cruz earlier this year. He tries stakes company for the first time, as does Sassicaia (10-1), who remains a maiden after two starts at Gulfstream Park for trainer Chad Brown.
Joint Custody (6-1) has finished first or second seven times in eight career starts, including victories in the Marylander and Maryland Juvenile Championship at Laurel Park last fall. Wesley Ho rides for Jerry Robb.
Matuszak (15-1) won his debut at Churchill Downs for Bill Mott but is winless since, most recently finishing third in the Private Terms.
Undefeated Ground Control (15-1) is from the Tony Dutrow barn.
Mr. Rover (20-1) had a productive 2-year-old campaign with seven in the money finishes in as many starts but has hit the board just once in three stakes tries this year.
Elevated (30-1) won the Elser Memorial at Parx Racing but beat just two horses in the Private Terms.
Edited Maryland Jockey Club release