Updated on 09/15/2011 12:31PM

Albert the Great wins Suburban


ELMONT, N.Y. - Albert the Great avenged the two toughest losses of his career Sunday while moving to the head of the handicap division by winning the $500,000 Suburban Handicap by 2 1/4 lengths in gate to wire fashion.

Lido Palace finished second, a head in front of Include. Perfect Cat, Unshaded and Traditionally completed the order of finish. Although heavy showers hit the area an hour to post and then again 15 minutes to post, the race was run over a track labeled fast.

It was the second straight victory and third in five starts this year for Albert the Great, who passed the $2 million mark in career earnings. It was also his sixth win in seven starts at Belmont Park. Two of those wins have come at 1 1/4-miles. This year's World Thoroughbred Championships, in which Albert the Great will run in the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic, will be held at Belmont at 1 1/4 miles.

Of more immediate concern to Zito, however, was avenging heart-breaking losses to Unshaded in last year's Travers at Saratoga and Include in the Grade 1 Pimlico Special in May.

``It's nice because it shows you he's as good as those horses,' said Zito, whose horse also won the Grade 2 Brooklyn three weeks ago. ``And he's one of the best horses in America.'

Noting that Albert the Great wound up on the rail in both the Travers and Pimlico Special _ which Zito felt cost him both races _ Zito instructed jockey Jorge Chavez to keep Albert the Great well off the rail in the Grade 2 Suburban. Chavez put Albert the Great in the six-path down the backside.

Chavez continued to float wide for the stretch and he drifted out even more for the stretch drive. But with nobody making a serious run at him, it didn't matter. Albert the Great, who carried topweight of 123 pounds, covered the 1 1/4 miles in 2:00.39 and returned $4 to win.

``I just wanted him in the clear because he's carrying a lot of weight,' said Zito, who trains the horse for Tracy Farmer. ``I just had the Pimlico Special in my mind. Not taking anything away from Include or [trainer] Buddy Delp, I just thought it was our race to win that day. It was unconventional but it worked.'

Lido Palace, who took up the chase from the inside after Traditionally backed up, outfought Include for second.

Jerry Bailey, the jockey of Include, believed the weights assigned by racing secretary Mike Lakow were unfair and played a role in the outcome. Include carried 122 pounds, one less than Albert the Great. In the Pimlico Special, Include carried seven pounds less than Albert the Great and only beat him a neck.

``That's a complete farce,' Bailey said. ``I hope Mr. Lakow is as kind to me when I'm on a New York-based horse as he was to Mr. Zito.'

Zito planned to ship Albert the Great to Saratoga on Tuesday where he'll begin preparing for the $750,000 Grade 1 Whitney Handicap on July 28. He will most likely meet up again with Include, Lido Palace and Unshaded.