12/31/2009 12:00AM

Afleet Again newest Cash is King prospect


Afleet Again newest Cash is King prospectP

By David Grening

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Chuck Zacney says he still watches the replay of the 2005 Preakness a couple of times a year. Who could blame him?

Zacney is the managing partner of Cash is King Stable, the partnership group that in 2005 campaigned the dual classic winner and 3-year-old champion Afleet Alex. After finishing third, beaten one length in that year's Kentucky Derby, Afleet Alex came back to win the Preakness in dramatic fashion. Approaching the quarter pole at Pimlico, Afleet Alex was making a huge move when the leader, Scrappy T, veered out and bumped hard into Afleet Alex, causing him to fall to his knees. Afleet Alex recovered quickly under Jeremy Rose, however, and went to win the Preakness by 4 3/4 lengths.

Three weeks later, Afleet Alex came back to roll in the Belmont Stakes by seven lengths. A fractured leg diagnosed in late July cut short his career, which ended with 8 wins from 12 starts and $2.7 million in earnings. That all that happened nearly five years ago is stunning to Zacney.

"It seems like yesterday,'' Zacney said Thursday morning from south Florida. "It's amazing how quickly that went by. We bought him in May 2004 and that 14-month period went by so fast; it was one big accolade after another.''

The five-member partnership is basically down to three - Joe Lerro and Joe Judge have stayed in while Bob Brittingham and Jen Reeves are phasing out - but Cash is King still exists. This year, the first crop of Afleet Alex offspring are 3-year-olds. That includes the Cash is King-owned Afleet Again, who runs in Saturday's $65,000 Count Fleet Stakes at Aqueduct.

Afleet Again has 1 win from 5 starts, but he has shown his connections, which includes trainer Butch Reid - who did not train Afleet Alex - that he wants to run a distance of ground. The Count Fleet is only a mile and 70 yards, but Afleet Again's performance should give his connections an idea of what type of horse they have.

"We're still trying to get a read on this horse. It's early,'' said Zacney, whose group bred Afleet Again under the name Roll Z Dice Racing Stable.

In his maiden win on Oct. 31, at 1 1/16 miles, Afleet Again won by three lengths, defeating next-out winners Laus Deo - who is in the Count Fleet - and Schoolyard Dreams.

In his most recent start, a first-level allowance race at Philadelphia Park on Nov. 20, Afleet Again finished third, beaten 13 3/4 lengths by Winslow Homer, who is eyeing the Fountain of Youth on Feb. 20 as his next start.

Reid thought Afleet Again ran a flat race that day - that was his third race in 39 days - and he has since put blinkers on the colt. Reid said he believes the equipment change has made a difference.

"Since we put the blinkers on him he's become more alert and much sharper,'' said Reid, who added that on Dec. 24 Afleet Again worked a half-mile "in 47-and-change and he had never done that before.''

According to Zacney, Cash is King has 15 horses based in Arkansas with Tim Ritchey, who trained Afleet Alex, and seven with Reid.