11/25/2011 2:32PM

Aqueduct: Zellweger can end Gullo's long cold streak


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – If he didn’t laugh about it, trainer Gary Gullo would probably cry. Since the spring, it has become a source of good-natured ribbing from his colleagues. But it could all come to an end Sunday.

When Gullo sends out Zellweger in Sunday’s first-level New York-bred allowance feature at Aqueduct, he will be seeking his first win on turf since July 27, 2002. Since Takeiteasyedye won a $35,000 claimer at Saratoga, Gullo has lost with his last 100 turf starters.

“Isn’t that a crazy stat?” Gullo said Friday morning at Belmont Park. “Who goes for oh-for-100? If you have that many starters you’d think you’d have to win. It’s kind of funny. I guess I’m not going to be training for any of the French guys.”

Gullo said some of his colleagues brought his lack of turf prowess to his attention in the spring when the streak was in the 90’s. He said one of his colleagues, trainer John Parisella, told him he would throw him a party when the streak reached 100. The loss – not the party – happened on Nov. 9 when Xodo finished second in a $35,000 claimer at Aqueduct.

Zellweger, who is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in Sunday’s one-mile race, will be making her first start since May 8 when she finished third, beaten a head, as the 2-1 favorite in a similar spot at Belmont. She was then trained by Chad Brown.

According to Gullo, Zellweger came out of that race with a hairline fracture in a cannon bone that required surgery. She was sent to Gullo in September and has trained steadily since then.

“I really think she’s training good,” Gullo said. “She’s a nice filly that could overcome my grass percentage. From a fitness standpoint I wouldn’t say she’s 100 percent fit, but I think she’s got the ability to overcome that.”

Zellweger also has Ramon Dominguez who won five races here on Thanksgiving Day, his 35th birthday.

If Zellweger does win Sunday, there will be one less thing to talk about on the backstretch Monday morning between Gullo and his fellow trainers.

“Now I’m one of the favorites they’re going to be wishing I get beat,” Gullo said. “They’ll probably bet a lot of money on her so I do get beat.”

Those looking to beat Zellweger Sunday may opt for Downtown Hottie, who has two seconds and a third in her last three starts; Catingua, a Parx shipper who tries statebred company for the first time; or Aquifolia, a New York-bred trained by Shug McGaughey who comes off a maiden win here on Nov. 4.